Tesco 'forgets' to charge customers for three months

IN BRIEF: The grocer charges for purchases made months ago, forcing cash-strapped customers into the red.

by Stephen Jones
Last Updated: 15 Feb 2018

The story. A ‘glitch’ in the payments system means that it has taken up to three months for hundreds of customers to be charged. Tesco say that 300 of its Express stores were affected between November 2017 and January 2018.

The result. Customers have been unexpectedly charged for payments they thought they’d made months previously, causing some to fall unexpectedly into overdrafts or have to cancel plans.

Tesco has notified ‘as many affected customers as possible’ via a letter, albeit rather last minute. Although it hasn’t revealed which stores were involved, Tesco did promised to reimburse any resulting bank charges.

In theory it isn’t in the wrong. Customers have been notified and apologies distributed. But you can’t help but think Tesco’s payment blunder could have been handled better.

Yes, Tesco was owed the money, but that is not the point in question. Tesco has a social responsibility to its customers. It’s pretty unacceptable for a retailer that owns 6,000 stores nationwide, making it one of the biggest businesses in the country, to effectively forget to charge for goods.

Suddenly recouping the delayed amounts in one sum, from people who in some cases live on a strict monthly budget, is rather short sighted. Surely, some flexibility was called for.

Tesco has avoided a sizeable admin job, but we have to ask how far large corporations should go to protect customers from their own business mistakes.

Maybe Dave Lewis should ensure that all systems are working before thinking about expanding to discount stores...

Image credit: Alex E Proimos/Wikimedia Commons

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