Tesco fined for 'half price' strawberries

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strawberries

Tesco has been fined £300,000 for a misleading promotion it ran in the summer of 2011. It had been selling 400g punnets of British strawberries for 'half price' for weeks, when it finally tested pensioner Daphne Smallman's patience to the limit. She approached Trading Standards, who took up the case.

It emerged that Tesco had been misleading customers - and the chain was fined.


The promotion

Smallbrook took her case to Trading Standards at Birmingham City Council, They discovered that the punnets had been for sale at £3.99 for a week, then £2.99 for a week. Then they had been on 'special offer' of £1.99 - with previous prices of £2.99 and £3.99 crossed out - for 14 weeks.

They were also sold in a separate promotion for £1.99 with a free pot of cream - with no mention of the £3.99 price.

Trading Standards also discovered that this wasn't just a price that was specific to Birmingham, so all Tesco shoppers had been exposed to this misleading labelling.

Misleading

The 'special' price ran for far longer than the original price, which breaches Consumer Protection rules, so they took Tesco to court.

According to the Telegraph, the council told the court that the approach was meant to: "cause the average consumer to make a transactional decision that they would not otherwise have made".

According to the BBC, the judge ruled that the promotion was "patently wrong and misleading", and "shocking by its very nature" because consumers had a "high degree of trust" in supermarket chains. Tesco pleaded guilty, and will pay the fine and costs of £65,000.

Tesco said in a statement: "We apologise sincerely for this mistake, which was made in the summer of 2011. We sell over 40,000 products in our stores, with thousands on promotion at any one time, but even one mistake is one too many."

"Since then, to make sure this doesn't happen again we've given colleagues additional training and reminded them of their responsibilities to ensure we always adhere to the guidelines on pricing."

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