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19 August 2013, 13:30
Retail giant, Tesco Stores Limited, has been fined £300,000 for misleading the public on a ‘half price’ offer regarding punnets of strawberries.
At Birmingham Crown Court on the 19th of August the national retailer was prosecuted under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations Act 2008 by Birmingham City Council.
The case concerns Tesco store on the Coventry Road in Sheldon and was widened to Tesco stores nationally.
It was brought to Trading Standards’ attention by local shopper Daphne Smallman at the Birmingham store.
The woman complained in June 2011 they were marked up as "half price" at £1.99 - with the apparent original cost of £3.99 crossed out.
But they were quickly discounted from the origional price to £2.99 which remained for a longer period of time than the origional price. Under the pricing practices guide, the lower price sale should not last longer than the time the higher price is available.
She asked trading standards to investigate whether the original price - which she had not actually seen imposed - was excessive and misleading.
The judge in the case described Tesco's turnover as a result of the promotion as "excessive" but agreed that while the supermarket chain had breached its customers' trust, it was not Tesco's intention to deliberately mislead them.
In a statement after the case, Tesco said: "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.
"Since then, to make sure this doesn’t happen again, we’ve given colleagues additional training and reminded them of their responsibilities to ensure we always adhere to the guidelines on pricing."