Shrinking pack sizes different to those ordered

Tesco delivery vanui Vieira/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Which? researchers discovered that Tesco online shoppers are getting some smaller pack sizes than the ones they ordered - but are being charged for the same size, and not told about the substitution either on the receipt or by the driver.

So whats going on, can this be fair?

The research

The researchers ordered a number of items online from Tesco. However, when they arrived, a number were in a smaller packet than listed on the site. This included a 667ml bottle of Ariel Excel Gel with Febreze which arrived with just 592ml. There was also a 900ml tub of Carte D'Or Light Vanilla ice cream instead of a one-litre tub and a 330ml pack of Magnum ice creams instead of 360ml.

The prices were the same as the products ordered, despite the fact that less had been delivered, and there was no mention of the change either on the receipt or from the driver. Which? said: "We think Tesco should have notified us that we'd been given smaller versions of these items."

It said Tesco had responded by blaming suppliers, who had not informed the supermarket of the changes, so it had not known that the ordering system needed to be updated with the new sizes. It apologised for the error.

The history

This isn't the first time supermarkets have been lambasted by Which? for shrinking shopping. Back in September last year they highlighted that shopping was shrinking - without a matching reduction in price. Previously, some manufacturers were caught at it by the BBC, and as far back as 2010 BBC's Watchdog was reporting a gradual shrinkage of basic grocery packets.

The manufacturers themselves argue that their costs are increasing, as raw materials are more expensive and production costs are higher. They say they have to make a decision between shrinking packaging and increasing price, and that consumers find the latter less difficult to swallow in difficult times.

But what do you think? Are they right? Is shrinking shopping just a fairer way of bringing in price rises, or do you feel ripped off? Let us know in the comments.

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Shrinking pack sizes different to those ordered

This takes time, but once you know the cost of a phone call, putting the dryer on, or a bag of potatoes, it enables you to judge far better how much you can afford to consume.

Once you know the base price, you are in a position to keep your eyes open for a better offer. If you see a discount you can judge for yourself whether it actually constitutes a bargain. For bigger things like utilities it enables you to do a proper price comparison and see if you can cut your bills.

Don't just assume that the premium range is better, try the every-day brand, or even the basic version and see if you spot the difference. Likewise, consider trading down your supermarket from one of the big players to local markets or discounters like Aldi.

If you plan what you buy to match what you actually cook and eat then not only will you be able to budget far more effectively, but you'll also waste much less and find your money goes further without you having to try.

If you can't think of a way to get your meat for less, consider a vegetarian day once a week. If you can't find petrol any cheaper, then work on making your driving as efficient as possible. The more you can think of clever alternatives the less you will have to make painful cuts to make ends meet.


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