Should Tesco Be Accountable For Their iPad Pricing Error?

Yesterday, Tesco briefly offered the new iPad, 64GB, 4G version for £49.99 on their website. Sure enough, news of such a great deal spread quickly across social networks, and it looked as if numerous people took them up on this offer. But eventually Tesco brought down the offer and ultimately the Tesco Direct site in order to prevent further losses. Admittedly this still took them quite a while, as even when the offer had been removed from their navigation, the direct link was still accessible, showing some naivety on the company’s part.

An article on the BBC website  appeared soon after, with Tesco claiming that the issue was caused by “an IT error” and that although they love to offer their customers “unbeatable value”, they wouldn’t be honouring purchases made at this price. No apology, no holding up of hands, just a flippant blaming of tools.

But is this really good enough? Surely Tesco have a duty to advertise their products fairly and correctly. It takes a lot to publish an incorrect offer and it must be questioned whether this was done purely to push hype and sales ahead of Friday’s new iPad launch.

If this happened in the financial services industry, the FSA would be all over the company like a rash, forcing them to adhere to an advertised APR or other product benefit. A defence of “it was the computer” doesn’t really wash and quite rightly too. I could stick an offer up on this blog for iPads at £50 or personal loans at 3% APR, just to get traffic in, to collect people’s personal information and to collect payment details. But this wouldn’t be fair of me would it?

Martin Lewis would also usually be attacking a company for false advertising in these situations, but Tesco appear to have wriggled out via small print stating that “If, by mistake, we have under-priced an item, we will not be liable to supply that item to you at the stated price, provided that we notify you before we despatch the item to you.”

Once again, no apology and no admittance that they were in the wrong and unfortunately this doesn’t just happen with Tesco online. I’ve had numerous issues in their store when multi-buy offers haven’t gone through the till correctly and it has always been me who then has to go and queue for a second time over at the kiosk waiting for them to muddle through getting me some sort of refund. Similarly, their bonus Clubcard points offers often don’t work as intended. I once had one for 50-odd bonus points when buying any fresh meat. The voucher didn’t work, according to the cashier, because the bacon I had bought was pre-packed and not fresh. I told her in no uncertain terms that I hoped to god it was fresh!

Don’t get me wrong I know that mistakes can happen. For me, it is all about how companies admit their mistakes and deal with them, and this time round, Tesco, for all their profits and successes were more than sloppy. I’m not one to attack them for being hateful capitalists killing the high street as some people do. I fully support them in being a business and making a profit. I like their online offering for its convenience and its level of customer service. I also don’t necessarily agree with those who jumped on this iPad offer and tried to buy 30 iPads just to sell on, but they had every right to try, just as someone would have every right to buy a job lot of baked beans if Tesco offered them at a knock-down price.

All I’m asking for is for Tesco to honour their deal and follow the lead of other companies who have held their hands up previously, such as Marks & Spencer.

I’m a long time Tesco customer and to me, the flippancy with which they have dealt with this error is unforgivable. Come on Tesco, put your money where your trigger happy web publishing finger is. And if you agree, please do join this group and spread the word amongst your friends and colleagues.

Manchester Riots: The Aftermath – The Affs Tours The City

I came into Manchester early today. Not like some sick vulture to pick at the carcasses of those suffering after last night’s devastation but in order to try to understand. To understand what had happened, why it had happened and to try to understand how Manchester could put itself back together again.

I started from Victoria Station and decided to tour the City Centre. I wasn’t going to stand around taking photos of riot damage, there are enough of those at websites you may have heard of such as bbc.co.uk and twitter.com, and as I said at the start, I wanted to find some hope amongst the carnage rather than gloating over the remnants of people’s livelihoods.

At first, it looked like a typical Wednesday morning. Walking up Thomas Street, the bars were all shut but nothing seemed out of place. Even in Manchester people don’t tend to be drinking this early. The first sign I saw of any damage was Alfred E Mutter’s pawn shop which had been attacked by rioters, the shutter bent like a T-Rex had spent a couple of minutes headbutting its way out. Then across the road, Cathedral Jewellers with presumably a shopkeeper outside filming the carnage. The shop had been largely destroyed during the riot.

The old Thomas Street Post Office also had some window damage, but generally speaking, the premises in the Northern Quarter seemed to have done a good job of closing up early and escaping major destruction in the riots.

Turning onto Oldham Street, where footage was shown of looting on the news last night, it was soon apparent that things were getting a little worse. Forbidden Planet had a couple of smashed windows, and Cash Generator had been attacked, along with BetFred. Onto Piccadilly Gardens and Kro seemed worse hit, staff and workmen cleaning up from a shattered glass door. Burger King also seemed to have suffered slightly, a sign that even looting opportunists get hungry.

Onto Market Street, and past a couple of policemen keeping watch, a fair few stores appeared to have been hit during the riots. TK Maxx, American Apparel, Tesco, Vodafone, Thomson, Thomas Cook and the Arndale itself all with that tell-tale chipboard mounted over what used to be a shop front. And of course, possibly the worst hit, Miss Selfridge, alarm still ringing and windows black with soot from the inexcusable arson that was started there last night.

In the main though, it appears that shop shutters largely worked to keep the immoral hordes at bay. Even those stores that had smashed windows, in the majority, had not been breached, presumably due to the strong construction of modern day shop front glass.

Walking around the other side of the Arndale, Size? on the bottom part of Market Street and Foot Asylum opposite the big wheel had been badly attacked, showing the looters’ penchant for getting a few pairs of cut-price trainers and presumably a new hoody or two.

Looping around to New Cathedral Street, Harvey Nichols showed signs of a smashed window, as did the Louis Vuitton entrance to Selfridges, whilst Ugg had been completely ransacked and all stock that was once upon the shelves seemed to have gone. On St Ann’s Square, FCUK had been struck, Swarovski was completely boarded up, the only satisfaction about that one being that a looter had been pictured being arrested by plain clothes officers last night on the news. Links, T-Mobile and Starbucks had also been attacked.

But where am I now? In Starbucks on St Ann’s Square. Have they closed for the day to mourn the damage and the destruction caused by an ignorant minority? No. A member of staff who wasn’t even working today had come in early to help clean up and to ensure that normality could resume as much as possible. That is how much people care about this city and about their fellow man.

And this is one of the things we can take from last night. The vast majority of people are appalled by the senseless acts. Even during the looting last night, plans were being put in place on Twitter to clean up the city, and in all honesty I don’t think they’re needed because of the efforts already made.

Don’t get me wrong, I was still shocked by what I saw last night and it was distressing to see the state of things today. But I was also amazed. I was in Manchester the morning after the city was destroyed by feral Rangers fans before, during and after the UEFA Cup Final in 2007. It was truly a scene from a zombie apocalypse movie with the streets swimming in broken glass, excrement and all manner of trash. From watching the news last night I was expecting to be swimming in rubbish and picking glass out of my shoes for the rest of the day.

But Manchester this morning is a whole different picture. Okay, so I didn’t tour all the way down King Street and Cross Street where I know other stores such as Diesel were ransacked, but largely, Manchester is relatively clean and tidy and getting on with business as usual.

What we can take from this is that people do a hell of a job against adversity in this city. Street cleaning teams are buzzing around the Centre and it looks like they have been for some time, sweeping up every last bit of damage to prepare the city for life simply going on. Police are on a few street corners and commuters and other passers-by are exchanging pleasantries with them. The Craft Market in St Ann’s Square is even going up as planned.

Last night I was ashamed of my country and what it had become. This morning, I feel only pride for those who have been undaunted by yet another attack on freedom, and who show that the good old fashioned English never-say-die attitude will always triumph over adversity.

My adopted home city has had Nazis, the IRA, Rangers ‘fans’ and now the ‘disillusioned’ underclasses trying to disrupt things for normal, decent folk. None have prevailed thus far, and I don’t think they’re going to in the future if what I have seen this morning is anything to go by.

It may not be over, but the fightback has already begun.

The Power of the Internet

It always amuses me when people believe whatever they put on the web shouldn’t be used against them (I’m off ill from work, but I’ve just put on Facebook that I’ve been on holiday to Ibiza!) and can’t believe that people are so lax with their personal information online.

Having said that, whilst doing one of my frequent vanity searches, I came across this, which I can’t even remember writing. I’ve probably got a fair few web profiles out there but I admit it’s probably only Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn that I keep up to date.

Whatever did happen to Friends Reunited?!?!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/alabaster/U134461

This Is England

If an alien visited planet Earth today and took a snapshot on his space-Nokia of this once great country, he would probably send it back to the mothership with “Danger – keep off” attached. Where once this rich and powerful nation could tell the world what to do, through abysmal government and a growing population-wide “don’t care” attitude, England has become an absolute joke.

Buses, roads and trains are awash with litter and dirt – this isn’t because of a lack of cleaners working for public transport companies, this is because the adult general public are no better than vermin at the best of times. They have a holier than thou attitude that someone will always clear up their mess for them. WRONG. They should be taking responsibility for their actions. Is it really that hard to take your free paper with you where you can chuck it in a recycling bin? Could you not take your apple core with you rather than lobbing it from your car window, claiming it is biodegradable so it doesn’t matter? Can you not hang onto your bus ticket for a few more minutes rather than just littering the floor with it?

Being able to drive is no longer a respected privilege, people simply think it is a God-given right. The standard of driving in this country becomes worse and worse by the day, and the roads on a Friday when everyone is rushing to get home whilst simultaneously hollering down their mobiles to arrange their weekend social life are a deathtrap at best.

Footballers are prima donnas. Rugby players are rapists. Cricketers are alcoholics. Athletes are drug addicts.

Tourists are getting stabbed to death and torched. Kids are being shot and stabbed on the streets daily. What does the government do? Create ridiculous laws saying that you can pick someone for a job because they are female – hang on, if I am recruiting, I will pick someone based on (and here’s the clever bit) THEIR ABILITY TO DO THE JOB. I wouldn’t care if they were male, female, pink, blue, red or green, if they can do a job they are all just human beings at the end of the day.

The police do a fantastic job in fighting all sorts of crime committed by all sorts of people. They have to deal with all sorts of scum, putting their lives on the line day in, day out and they should be treated with respect. But when these criminals go to court, the Crown Prosecution Service ridicule the police’s job time and time again, dishing out pathetic sentences because the government cannot afford to keep that many people in jail. Even if people do go to prison, it isn’t a form of punishment, it’s a summer camp where good behaviour is rewarded with Sky Plus and a shiny new car. To me, good behaviour in prison should be rewarded with slightly less of a daily thrashing. Nothing more, nothing less. No wonder people re-offend, the threat of prison is so pathetic there is nothing putting these people off.

Then of course we look at the media. Vilifying fat and thin celebrities. Criticising the very government that they were partly responsible for bringing to power. Scaring people with stories about the so-called credit crunch, so that they are so scared to spend that they make matters even worse.

Papers even criticise TV for being full of violence and unsuitable content, then the papers themselves make their money by publishing pictures of war, crime and sex. This blame culture is pathetic. Even Noel Gallagher is blaming video games for the rise of crime amongst teenagers – it comes to something when even the token controversial rock star of the day is entirely out of touch with reality.

The great English summer no longer exists – ruined by persistent rain and yobs at Wimbledon shouting out and cheering double faults. You cannot get a pint for less than £3. You cannot go to the corner shop for a paper because it’s either been demolished or boarded up and daubed with graffiti. Post Offices are being closed down, the high street is dead and nobody cares.

Where did it all go wrong? Just because those who fought for this country’s freedom are mostly no longer with us, does not mean we should forget what they did and why they did it. Those brave souls who gave their lives for this country are essentially having their memories urinated on by those who would rather spit on the pavement than help a blind person across the road.

This is England – and frankly it’s embarrassing.

Advertising – Not Fair

In recent years we have seen the banning of tobacco advertising, junk food ads condemned to late night TV like some dirty old man and the constant refunding of contractual bank charges. All of which is why I have been astounded to read a case of Jessops, the camera people, falsely advertising a product via pay per click marketing on Google and thus far failing to honour the deal.

The case in point can be seen right here on WordPress and also over here on Money Saving Expert and involves Jessops advertising a Panasonic TZ5 camera for £229.99. The normal RRP for this camera is £299, so quite rightly, the chap who spotted the ad contacted Jessops in order to buy the camera (the clickthrough from the advert said the product was still £299).

 Of course Jessops claimed that they had no control over the advert etc etc etc and could not offer the product at that price. It just amazes me that in today’s “not fair” culture, they can simply refuse to do so and that there is seemingly little comeback on them from a regulatory body for doing so.

Imagine if a young single mum with 14 children saw an ad outside McDonalds that said “feed your family for £1.50.” Said mum then goes into the eating establishment only to be told that in reality, a Mcfamily feast costs £150. Would The Sun not have a field day with such a tale and force McDonalds into an apology and some form of compensation.

I have also been surprised by the reaction on the so-called “Consumer Revenge” website Money Saving Expert. Over there, people constantly scratch around for loopholes which exploit big companies but on this occasion many simply say “tough luck, you have no chance of getting anything.”

Double standards throughout!

NB – A quick update, it seems that Jessops are paying attention to what is happening in this case, as they have contacted the customer in question and promised they are looking into it. Still no word on an outcome but goes to show the power of the consumer is not dead!

“Not Fair” News – The Gambler, The Squatter and the Protesters

It seems that this once glorious nation of ours has been rather inundated with utterly ridiculous “not fair” news this week.

First we have the obsessive gambler who is suing William Hill for £2 million because he blames them for not stopping his addiction. The fact of the matter is, he was a very rich man but couldn’t help being greedy and wanting more. He asked William Hill to close his account which they did. He then proceeded to open a new one with them, all of his own accord. How on Earth can William Hill be responsible for that?

 Lets clear this up – gambling is NOT an illness. Neither is drug addiction or alcoholism. All of these things are brought about through a lack of will power, and a lack of self respect. Why give people help to stop damaging themselves? It is a complete waste of money. Let them simply use their will power. If they step out of line and act illegally, arrest them and imprison them. Spend taxpayers money on something more worthwhile.

Next up is the non-paying mortgagee who decided to not pay anything on his mortgage for 15 years. The courts have ruled that because his Bank took so long to do anything about the arrears, he can now claim squatters rights and the house is now his. For God’s sake, can nothing be done to stop these idiots getting away with murder? I wish that I could obtain a £200,000 house for nothing but unfortunately it is people like myself who toe the line who get the wrong end of the deal.

 Yet another bit of ridiculousness is happening down in the South West where the “Bristol No Borders” group of idiots are protesting at dawn deportation raids. Let us get this straight – these raids are removing people from this country who are living here illegally. Personally I do not care how humane or inhumane these raids are that remove them from these shores as they are costing me and my fellow tax payer a huge amount so that they can live somewhere for free. I have to pay my way. Why should they not do the same?

 Lastly, I cannot believe that one of the killers of Peter Newlove is thinking about appealing his sentence as life with a recommended minimum of 17 years imprisonment is apparently not fair for killing someone? He is right, he should have been shot instead. Much fairer to the family of the deceased to never see this disgusting runts’ face ever again. Mr Newlove’s widow sums it up perfectly by saying: “I am not surprised. He knows how to play the system, he has no respect and will just try whatever and I hope to God they don’t give him leave to appeal, because this is just disgraceful. How many times are they going to give this lad [a chance] – he was out on bail, the charges he had were assault, harassment, these weren’t little shoplifting charges.”

 When will the government act to right all these wrongs and put some money behind tackling those who “play the system” in order that they get an easy life? Let’s hope it is sooner rather than later or the once Great Britain will soon become a much poorer relation.