So what exactly was Tesco’s fruity misdemeanor? Punnets of strawberries were advertised as ‘half price’ at £1.99 for 14 weeks, longer than they had been on sale for £3.99. The pricing practices guide stipulates a new lower price must not be offered for longer than the original price was available for.
The case was heard at Birmingham Crown Court where Tesco admitted four counts of unfair commercial practice.
The case was brought by Birmingham City Council and was initially only focused on a store in Sheldon, Birmingham but it was later stretched to include the rest of the UK.
‘This is not only a victory for Birmingham customers it also has wider benefits for all consumers across the country,’ said Sajeela Naseer, head of trading standards at Birmingham City Council.
‘The council is firmly of the belief that this was not a genuine offer and this has been confirmed in court today. We hope this sends out a message to other national retailers that it is their responsibility to ensure that offers are presented to the public in a careful, clear and truthful way.
Tesco admitted it had fallen below its normal advertising standards but blamed the mistake on one individual employee, (who is no doubt shaking in their boots in the wake of chief exec Philip Clark’s latest employee cull).
‘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.’