Pricewatch: Readers’ queries

This week, consumers are exercised about Tesco’s price promise, the colour of whiskey, and a large broadband bill


Customer confusion over Tesco’s price promise

Jennifer Furlong has been in touch in connection with Tesco. Every week she does a lot of shopping there.

She says the supermarket has a price promise whereby “if I could have bought an item cheaper somewhere else, they will refund the difference, and it’s fantastic when I get a coupon for 71 cent or 15 cent back at the till.

“A few weeks ago, one of the German discounters had a sale on icing sugar. I was delighted, because I knew at the till in Tesco I would get a nice coupon back with 30 cent off each bag of icing sugar I was buying, because it was 30 cent cheaper in the German supermarket.”

However she didn’t get anything back.

“I did ask [why I didn’t get anything back] at the tills, but the staff and they couldn’t answer me. I rang their head office and they couldn’t answer me either. Can you find out why, when I know I am entitled to a coupon because of Tesco’s policies, I don’t get anything?”

Tesco introduced its “price promise” last year and said it would to match or beat prices from Aldi and Lidl, or refund the difference – up to €10 – on a customer’s next Tesco shop.

So what is happening here? We contacted the company and were told that, in order to qualify for the price promise, a customer needs at least 10 different items, including one comparable grocery item, in her basket.

“Price Promise includes comparable items that are reduced in price, as well as most promotions.”

So if our reader had had at least 10 items, she should have been given the discount.

Opinion of whiskey coloured by label language

Like many of us, Liam P Ó Murchú from Cork is interested in whiskey. “Having bought a bottle of Kilbeggan Irish whiskey in Supervalu recently, I made an interesting discovery,” he writes. “It is quite a good blended Irish whiskey, smooth and some might argue a little bland. It is described on the bottle as being “a traditional Irish whiskey, double-distilled”, but an asterisk leads us to a note that states, in German and Dutch, that artificial colouring is used in the mix.

“Why this information is given in German and Dutch, but not in English, I don’t quite know, but I do know it annoys me,” writes Ó Murchú. “I was under the impression that it was the nature of the timber in the ageing barrel that gave whiskey its distinctive golden colour.”

Ó Murchu is entitled to be annoyed. However, Kilbeggan Whiskey is breaching no regulations, because the peculiarities of labelling laws mean that the ingredients in alcohol are not required to be carried on labels, except for some specific circumstances relating to allergies.

Getting to the bottom of a huge broadband bill

A reader by the name of Donal got in touch with us about his eMobile broadband bill. He has been a customer with the provider for several years, and is on a plan that costs him €20 for 10GB of usage.

“Last month I received a bill of €140, and this month I received a bill of €536,” he writes.

“I don’t have Netflix or Sky on Demand. I don’t download movies or anything like that. I have been on to eMobile and they are saying it’s my bill and that’s it.”

He wants to know where he stands with them. “I have sent an email to their customer service department. I have also been in contact with the communications regulator, and they are going to contact them on my behalf. What are my chances of getting any money back from them?”

We contacted the company to find out what was going on. We were told that, after our reader’s account was rechecked, the usage and charge were found to be correct. Someone from eMobile has contacted him and talked him through the steps he needs to take to check his data usage, and the company has “also applied a credit to [his] account in recognition of any distress that may have been caused”.

Donal is said to be is “happy with this outcome”.

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