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I ordered 6 wine bottles but got 5 and lost a Sainsbury’s 25% off deal

Grocery stores and customers love ‘25% off wine for 6 bottles or more’ offers, but where do you stand if they don’t all six arrive?

When a reader of This is Money wrote after Sainsbury’s failed to deliver a bottle and she ended up taking £7.44 out of pocket, the Consumer Fightback column stepped in.

When a grocery delivery arrives and items are missing, there's not much you can do, but what if the missing item means you're missing out on a promotion?

When a grocery delivery arrives and items are missing, there’s not much you can do, but what if the missing item means you’re missing out on a promotion?

Sometimes it’s about principle. It is real.

I hear a lot of reasons why people don’t complain to companies when things go wrong. This could be because it is too time consuming, people don’t know what their legal rights are, they are being fobbed off or the amount just seems too small.

But the problem with this last excuse is that if that same problem is experienced by many customers, shouldn’t the company know what’s going on?

Aren’t we obligated the business to make things right for them and for us? And also, if they do know, isn’t it right that the problem should be brought up?

When I took Tesco to court a few years ago for around £40 worth of double-up vouchers (and won of course), I was approached by numerous people who had experienced the same problem and were out of money.

When I told the judge I was standing up for the general public, he smiled and said ‘Good for you’ and awarded me the full amount, including the fees and the goodwill gesture that Tesco had also refused to pay, despite said it would happen.

This story is in the same vein.

Many of us love the supermarket’s “25% off wine for 6 bottles or more” offers, don’t we?

This is money reader, Alison, thought she missed out on the discount on Prosecco and wine she bought because Sainsbury only sent five, so she contacted me for advice.

Please bear with me as this took some effort.

She ordered three bottles of Canti Prosecco 75cl for £6.50 and three bottles of Pinot Grigio for £5.75 each. So this was a total of six bottles. At the time of delivery, the offer was running ‘25% off 6 bottles or more’. This meant she got £14.62 for the Prosecco and £12.94 for the bottles of Pinot Grigio. The total was €27.66.

However, when the delivery arrived it contained only two bottles of another Prosecco and three bottles of the Pinot Grigio. The sixth bottle was missing.

The terms and conditions of Sainsbury’s replacement promise read: ‘If goods are out of stock or otherwise unavailable, we will offer replacement products where possible unless you have asked us not to.’

She had not opted out of substitutions. She had to pay full price for the five bottles that did arrive. This was NOT stated on delivery.

Alison was charged a total of £29.75. So she had to pay full price for the two bottles of Prosecco (£12.50) as the full price of the replacement was £6.25 per bottle. However, this should have been £9.37 if the 25 percent discount had been applied, a difference of £3.13.

The Pinot Grigio was charged at £17.25. If the discount had been applied, this would have been £12.94, a difference of £4.31.

The offer’s total savings should have been £7.44, a discount that should have been applied. She was not offered a replacement if wine had to be available and the discount was not honored.

I think it’s unlikely there were only two bottles left of two different kinds of Prosecco, given all the Prosecco Sainsbury’s sold?

So I helped Alison draft her complaint email outlining the above facts and the apparent violation of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 for failing to provide services with reasonable skill and care.

Alison received an apology and a refund of the £7.44. It was not explained how this happened. It was a pretty standard email:

‘Thanks for the contact. I’m sorry you missed the 25% discount by replacing wine.

“We hate to disappoint our customers and know how frustrating it is when you can’t get something you want. I understand that the wine we supplied caused your order not to meet the conditions of the wine promotion and as a result you did not take advantage of the discount and I would like to rectify this.

“I understand that our colleagues misunderstood you on this occasion and I have shared these details with our store management team who can remind colleagues to choose appropriate replacements for our customers. I have placed a £7.44 voucher in your voucher wallet to refund the price difference of the wine received.

“Thank you for taking the time to contact us, we trust our customers to let us know when things like this happen and I hope you have a nice day.”

I contacted Sainsbury’s Press Office for a statement on the matter to find out what should be done in this case. A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said:

“If items from a customer’s online order are not available, our colleagues are trained to offer suitable alternatives through our replacement service.

“We understand that this process was not followed when we prepared Ms L’s order and we apologize for the inconvenience this caused. As a goodwill gesture, we arranged for her to receive an e-voucher that reimburses her for the savings she should have made with our Buy 6 promotion.

“We’re also investigating Ms. L’s experience with the store so we can prevent this from happening in the future.”

I pointed out that the refund was what she was legally owed and not goodwill and asked why Sainsbury’s did not give a goodwill gesture in light of the inconvenience.

They then offered Alison a goodwill gesture of £30 on top of the refund. When asked why it took the contact with the press service to get this, they said: ‘Our healthcare team reviewed Ms L’s case when we brought it to their attention. They recognized that her experience did not match the high standard of service our customers rightly expect and so they wanted to give a gesture of goodwill in addition to the compensation we offered.”

Yes, it’s not a lot of money, but remember, it’s about the principle. If you’ve been locked out through no fault of your own, challenge it. And if you need help with anything, whether it’s a few pounds or thousands of pounds, the principle and usually the method are the same.

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