Supermarkets and customers love ‘25% off wine for 6 bottles or more’ offers but where do you stand when not all six arrive. 

When a This is Money reader wrote in after Sainsbury’s failed to deliver a bottle and she ended up £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 object means that you miss 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 object means that you miss out on a promotion?

Sometimes it is the principle of the thing. It really is.

I hear a lot of reasons for people not complaining to companies when something goes wrong. This can be because it is too time consuming, people don’t know their legal rights, they get fobbed off or the amount just seems too small.

But the trouble with this last excuse is that if that same issue is experienced by many customers then shouldn’t the business know what’s going on?

Don’t we owe it to the business to put matters right for them and for us? And also, if they do know, then isn’t it right that the issue should be highlighted?

When I took Tesco to court a few years ago about £40 of double-up vouchers (and won, obviously) I was contacted by numerous people who had encountered the same issue and were left out of pocket.

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 goodwill gesture that Tesco had also refused to pay, despite saying it would.

This story is in a similar vein.

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

This is Money reader, Alison, thought she had lost out on the discount of Prosecco and wine that she had bought due to Sainsbury’s only sending 5, so she contacted me for advice.

Bear with me, as this took some working out.

She ordered three bottles of Canti Prosecco 75cl at £6.50 and three bottles of Pinot Grigio at £5.75 a bottle. This was therefore six bottles in total. At the time of delivery the ‘25% off 6 bottles or more’ offer was running. This meant that she was quoted £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 a different Prosecco and three bottles of the Pinot Grigio. The sixth bottle was missing.

Sainsbury’s Substitution Promise Terms and Conditions state ‘If goods are out of stock or otherwise unavailable we’ll offer substitutes wherever we can unless you’ve asked us not to.’

She had not opted out of substitutions. She was charged full price for the five bottles which did arrive. This was NOT pointed out at the point of delivery.

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

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

The total saving from the offer should have been £7.44, a discount which should have been applied. She was not offered a substitution when wine must have been available and the discount was not honoured.

I think it unlikely that there were only two bottles left from two different types of Prosecco, considering all the Prosecco Sainsbury’s sells?

So, I helped Alison with drafting her email of complaint which outlined the facts above and the apparent breach of the Consumer Rights Act 2015, for not providing services with reasonable skill and care.

Alison received an apology and refund of the £7.44. No explanation was given of how this happened. It was a quite standard email:

‘Thanks for getting in touch. I’m sorry that due to wine being substituted you missed out on the 25% off promotion.

‘We hate to disappoint our customers and know how frustrating it is when you can’t get something you want. I appreciate that the wine we delivered meant that your order didn’t meet the terms and conditions of the wine promotion and as a result you did not benefit from the discount and I’m keen to put this right.

‘I understand our colleagues didn’t get it right for you on this occasion and I’ve shared these details with our store management team, who can remind colleagues of picking suitable substitutions for our customers. I’ve popped a £7.44 evoucher into your voucher wallet to refund the price difference of the wine you received.

‘Thanks for taking the time to get in touch, we rely on our customers to let us know when things like this happen and I hope you have a great day.’

I contacted Sainsbury’s Press Office for a statement on the issue to find out what should happen in this instance. A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s said:

‘If any items in a customer’s groceries online order are unavailable, our colleagues are trained to offer suitable alternatives through our substitutions service.

‘We understand this process was not followed when we prepared Mrs L’s order and we have apologised for the inconvenience this caused. As a gesture of goodwill, we have arranged for her to receive an e-voucher which reimburses her for the saving she should have made with our Buy 6 promotion.

‘We’re also investigating Mrs L’s experience with the store so that we can prevent this from happening in the future.’

I pointed out that the refund was what she was legally due and not goodwill and asked why Sainsbury’s didn’t provide 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 contacting the press office to get this they commented: ‘Our care line team reviewed Mrs L’s case when we brought it to their attention. They recognised her experience did not reflect the high standard of service our customers rightly expect and so in addition to the reimbursement we offered to provide a gesture of goodwill.’

Yes, it’s not a great deal of money but remember, it’s the principle of the thing. If you have been left out of pocket through no fault of your own, challenge it.And, if you need assistance, 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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Sainsbury’s upgrades profit forecast after cashing in on Xmas bonanza: Grocer bids to match Aldi and Lidl in new price war

Sainsbury’s became the latest grocer to vow to keep prices low as it upgraded its profit forecasts on the back of bumper Christmas sales.

On an upbeat day for the British retailers, the country’s second biggest supermarket said it now expects profits ‘of at least £720million’ for the financial year to March 31.

That is 9 per cent higher than its previous forecast of £660million, and more than double the £356million it made last year. The supermarket cashed in as families celebrated Christmas with luxuries. 

Sainsbury's said it expects profits 'of at least £720m' for the financial year to March 31 - 9% higher than its previous forecast of £660m

Sainsbury’s said it expects profits ‘of at least £720m’ for the financial year to March 31 – 9% higher than its previous forecast of £660m

It sold a record 21.5m bottles of champagne and other sparkling wine in the six weeks to January 8.

Shares jumped 3.1 per cent, or 8.7p, to 288p. But chief executive Simon Roberts said this year will be ‘tough’ as the country faces a cost of living crisis. 

He vowed to make low prices a ‘key priority’ and doubled down on its promise to match German discounter Aldi on 150 core products.

It comes as the Bank of England expects inflation to hit 6 per cent by spring while analysts have warned that the energy bill price cap could jump by more than £700 in April. 

National insurance rates will also rise in April, costing taxpayers an extra £12billion.

And the average shop is becoming more expensive, with grocery prices 3.5 per cent higher in December than a year earlier.

Aldi and Lidl this week pledged to remain the lowest priced grocers in the UK, setting the scene for a price war.

Pressure is mounting on others including Tesco, which is due to publish a trading update today.

Retail analyst Richard Hyman, at consultancy TPC, said: ‘Because price inflation is going to outstrip wage inflation and there are going to be price rises, the good news for consumers is that competition is so intense it will not be that easy to put prices up. 

Aldi and Lidl will make sure everyone is kept on their toes.’ Sainsbury’s, which has 1,411 stores and 189,000 staff, said its promise of a Christmas dinner as cheap as Aldi’s poached shoppers from rivals. 

Grocery sales in the six weeks to January 8 were 0.8 per cent higher than Christmas 2020 when sales were buoyed by lockdowns. They were up 6.8 per cent on pre-pandemic levels. 

Roberts said it had its ‘biggest ever new year’. It expects to report at least £720million in profit for the year ending in March, £60million more than forecast.

UBS analysts expect the grocer, which accounts for 15.4 per cent of the market, to have sold £29billion of food and other goods in the year.

US boost for JD Sports 

Turning heads: Pop star Rita Ora models for JD Sports

Turning heads: Pop star Rita Ora models for JD Sports

JD Sports upgraded its profit forecast after a £100million windfall from US customers spending their coronavirus stimulus cash

It has 1,220 stores in the US and during the pandemic Presidents Trump and Biden gave everyone three stimulus payments, worth as much as £1,022. 

For those in jobs, this was disposable income, and JD said this amounted to as much as £100million in profits in the first half. 

With Black Friday and Christmas sales also strong in both the US and UK, it now expects profits of £875million for the 12 months to January 29. 

Shares fell 3.3 per cent, or 7.3p, to 211.5p after it warned of price rises as inflation stalks the economy 




BUSINESS LIVE: Sainsbury’s raises guidance despite weak Christmas; JD Sports set to beat profit forecasts; Private equity sharks circle Boots

Sainsbury’s has raised its full-year profit forecast, despite reporting a fall in underlying sales over the Christmas quarter versus a tough Covid-lockdown assisted comparative in 2020.

The group is now forecasting a full-year 2021-22 underlying pre-tax profit of at least £720million, versus previous guidance of at least £660million and £356million made in 2020-21.

JD Sports has hailed a strong second half to 2021 and boosted its full-year profit guidance after revenues for the 22-week period to 1 January 2022 came in more than 10 per cent ahead of the same period in 2020.

Headline pre-tax profit for the full year to 29 January 2022 will be ahead of current forecasts, which currently average around £810million, with the group now expecting to achieve at least £875million for the period.

Two of the world’s biggest private equity firms have joined forces to launch a multi-billion- pound bid for Boots.

American buyout barons at Bain Capital and their counterparts at British giant CVC Capital Partners have emerged as frontrunners in the £7billion takeover battle, after teaming up to make a bid.

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Sainsbury's expects full-year 2021-22 underlying pre-tax profit of at least £720million

Sainsbury’s expects full-year 2021-22 underlying pre-tax profit of at least £720million