Pricewatch: Readers’ queries

This week’s issues relate to a Lidl ready meal, a pricey GP visit, and travel insurance

Bitter aftertaste from Lidl’s handling of complaint

A reader recently bought a ready-meal from Lidl, which he describes as inedible. "We complained immediately to Lidl, and they were initially very responsive, and asked us to send pictures of the offending item, the bar code and the receipt, which we duly did. They then replied that they would launch an investigation with their supplier and get back to us. They gave no time frame as to when they would get back to us, nor did they tell us who the supplier is," he writes.

“After seven days with no update, I sent another email requesting one. They ignored this. Seven days later I again requested information. Again this was ignored.”

More time passed before he got a letter stating that the investigation was over. “They apologised. They said that they have ended their relationship with this particular supplier and they included a paltry €20 Lidl voucher as a goodwill gesture.”


He says he is very “angry, upset and disillusioned with Lidl”, and describes the responses as “extremely poor. They ignored my correspondence and offered paltry sums in response.” Our reader is annoyed that they felt that cutting a supplier was necessary, which seems severe, but they offered only €20 “goodwill” vouchers to him. “We love Lidl and shop there all the time, but they have really let themselves down, both with their offer and their responses and non-responses.”

There are several things at play here. First is the quality of the product. Lidl could have been more responsive. However, he is not entitled to compensation, and the offer of a €20 voucher is more than the company is legally obliged to offer him.

We contacted Lidl and received a perfunctory response. “Customer services will contact the customer directly to discuss the handling of their complaint. Otherwise we have no further comment to make,” was all a spokeswoman would say.

One doctor draws blood with exorbitant fee for tests

A reader called Aisling needs to have monthly blood tests, and she usually goes to her own GP practice to have the tests done for €25 a time and gets her results within four working days. “Last month it was more practical for me to have the bloods done in [a neighbouring town], and when I inquired, I was told that a particular doctor took walk-in patients for blood tests.

“I was finally seen by the doctor after a 45-minute wait. He brought me in, took my bloods and kept me for no more than 90 seconds, never inquiring about the reason. That was okay, I didn’t go there for a consultation. You can imagine my surprise and shock when I was handed a bill for €75 by the receptionist. I didn’t have enough cash with me to pay and they didn’t accept debit or credit cards, so I had to go to an ATM to get the rest. There was no price list on display in the waiting area.”

She contacted six other practices in the area, which charge €20-€35 for this test. “I wrote to the doctor afterwards, and have called him three times to query the price, but he has not responded.”

The problem of some GPs hitting people with exorbitant prices for simple procedures is not uncommon. If you would like to contact us with your own experience, we would love to hear from you.

What’s the best policy when it comes to travel insurance?

A Dublin-based reader is planning to travel to Asia for five weeks, and contacted us for advice on travel insurance. "I booked my flights with Traifinders, which offered a €152 cover for an annual multi-trip policy," she writes.

It seemed steep, so she decided to shop around. She found that Multitrip. com offers very similar cover for €67 and Bank of Ireland has an annual policy for €68. "Is there a catch with and/or Bank of Ireland? And would it be better to go with a more instantly recognisable name such as Bank of Ireland over"

The first thing we would say is that the Trailfinders option is too dear: very similar products can be found for substantially less, as our reader discovered. Most of the companies that offer travel insurance in Ireland are actually insured by a handful of multinational companies, so that brand name in Ireland should not be a big factor in any decision-making process.

If you take out an insurance policy with, for example, they are not covering your trip, they are just a broker selling the insurance, and there is a big company behind that process. Sites such as Comparetravelinsurance are there to do the donkey work for you, and remember: if you take more than two holidays a year, it is much cheaper to get a multi-trip policy.