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Tesco’s mistake, but are we to blame as well?

The Tesco pricing error story that appeared earlier this week was interesting. I was taking about it on a BBC programme and when I suggested that we had a responsibility as consumers to check our bills when we have done our shopping I was told that surely it was Tesco that should be making sure their pricing was correct, and not our place to check it.

In reality is should be both. Tesco has a responsibility to make sure that the offers it is displaying in-store are accurate so that we, as its customers, can work out as we meander round their stores whether we want to purchase the things they are selling. If they are offering goods on a special three for two or two for one deal then these deals should be checked regularly and re-ticketed when the deal comes to an end. The fact that mistakes were found in so many Tesco stories as part of the BBC investigation would suggest that this is not happening on a regular basis. Thirty three out of fifty stores had pricing issues and that suggests to me one of two problems. Either Tesco is some sloppy management issues or they have a real manpower issue in each of the stores affected. Tesco said it would be double checking the accuracy of the price labels at all its stores as a result of the BBC’s investigation. The company runs more than 3,500 stores across the UK.

A Tesco spokesperson told the BBC “We take great care to deliver clear and accurate price labels for our customers so they can make informed decisions on the products they buy. We are disappointed that errors occurred and will be working with the stores involved to reinforce our responsibilities to our customers.”

But we as consumers have a responsibility as well to make sure that we are being correctly charged when we shop, and not just in supermarkets. Mistakes happen and it makes sense to check receipts when you get home, partly to make sure that you have been charged correctly for everything you have bought but also to make sure that you haven’t left half your shopping lying at the till when you left the shop!

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Facebook and Twitter have long been full of posts and tweets telling us that we don't need to worry, or pay, if we get stung with 'parking charge notices' from private companies. According to a recent Scottish judgement we might have to think again on this issue.
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