One of my followers asked me about Tesco Clubcard problems and sought my advice on how to resolve an issue she was faced with.

BACKGROUND

“I wondered if you’d ever had any complaints come your way about the Tesco Clubcard vouchers and redeeming it. I’m furious with them. I won’t bore you with the details but I’ve basically lost about £120 thanks to a very stupid oversight on my part but they’re saying they won’t refund me.

Just wondered if you had ever come across this before because if so, I might fight them for it. Just not sure whether I have leg to stand on because it WAS my fault but the I’m sure the system is designed to stop you redeeming them correctly.”

ACTION

I have come across loyalty points and complaints before, funnily enough, and it was something I was asked about after the Daily Mail feature in June 2019.

I haven’t come across Clubcard voucher issues, but the fact remains that the points and scheme is set up to entice you to remain loyal to Tesco and reward you for doing so.

Personally, I would fight it and escalate it by requesting that discretion is applied in this instance.

CONSUMER RIGHTS ACT 2015

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 has a fairness test and any terms and conditions that are not clear and / or tilted against consumers is considered unfair and unlawful. It’s fair to say that if you have been caught out by unclear terms and conditions, others have as well.

If the system is designed to stop you correctly redeeming the points and others have had the same problems (which can be evidenced by similar complaints), that is sufficient evidence to support your claim for a full refund.

You tried to redeem the points in line with flawed terms and conditions which are not legally binding – that’s the bottom line, and a Small Claims Court would agree.

CUSTOMER LOYALTY

Play on the loyalty aspect of your custom and how disappointing you feel about being treated so badly.

Supporting it with evidence of others being caught out should hopefully swing it, and cross-referencing it to the Consumer Rights Act 2015 is a belt and braces tactic to reinforce your claim.

Do escalate it and don’t give up until you get a full refund it.

£120 is a lot of money and it’s completely unacceptable that you find yourself out of pocket due to Tesco’s systems which are not fit for purpose.

SMALL CLAIMS COURT

If you do take a case to the Small Claims Court, factor in all costs and time spent. I run with £22.50 an hour in my disputes with the likes of Trainline and Northern Rail and I reckon a Court would accept that.

The Small Claims Court is always the last resort. You have to demonstrate that you have exhausted all options throughout the complaints process.

CONCLUSION

The main gripe with customers is not the complaint itself but how it is handled (often badly) from the outset.

This leads me on to the importance of great customer service and how to encourage customer loyalty.

Tesco could have handled this much better and have probably lost a loyal and big-spending customer for life.

A better trained staff member would have seen this as a great PR opportunity to do the right thing and turn a bad experience round, knowing that this is not a one-off and a cursory Google search has raised similar issues.

It is easier and cheaper to retain an existing customer than it is to find new ones. Not only that, but once they are gone, they are gone for good in the majority of cases.

Silent losses is a problem that retailers need to be aware of. A lot of customers simply walk away and vote with their feet without explaining why, although they are more than willing to share a bad experience with friends and family.

One bad experience can go viral in minutes via social media and consumers are more inclined to take to social media and use various platforms to air their grievances.

What are your thoughts on this? Have you had problems with Tesco Clubcard and loyalty cards?

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