Sainsbury's seeks judicial review after ASA ruling on Tesco Price Promise
The Tesco money-back scheme compares the cost of own-branded goods at the checkout with prices at Asda, Sainsbury's and Morrisons. If rivals are found to offer cheaper prices on comparable products, shoppers receive a refund for the difference in the form of a voucher worth up to £10.
In its complaint to the ASA earlier this year, Sainsbury’s argued that Tesco’s claim "You won't lose out on big brands, own-label or fresh food" was misleading in relation to own-label and fresh food as it did not take “important product attributes” such as provenance and ethics into account. The supermarket also claimed that some of the products compared were not comparable and that the basis of the price match policy had not been made clear.
However, the ASA dismissed the complaint and said in its ruling: "We considered consumers were likely to interpret the claim "You won't lose out on big brands, fresh food or own-label" as a promise to compare the cost of their shopping with Tesco to the other named retailers."
Earlier this month, Sainsbury’s lost an appeal against the ruling. ASA independent reviewer Sir Hayden Philips said that while Sainsbury’s had made a “persuasive case” that customers increasingly place value on provenance and other ethical issues, the ASA had in his view followed the correct process.
Yesterday, Sainsbury’s said the judicial review will seek to have the ASA Council reconsider its original decision on the grounds that the test it applies “does not take into consideration customers’ desire to make fair comparisons based on all relevant product properties”.
Sainsbury’s commercial director Mike Coupe said: "It’s time to take a stand on behalf of the huge majority or customers who want to be able to make fair comparisons when they shop. Tesco says that whether, for example, a product is Fairtrade or MSC certified is just a ‘minor part’ of a customer’s considerations – especially for value products.
"More than ever, customers want to be able to let their values guide them and in price-matching its products with ours Tesco is, when it sees fit, choosing to ignore factors such as ethical or provenance certification or even country of origin. We think that’s wrong and we’re pretty sure our customers do too."
Responding to the news, Tesco marketing director David Wood said: "Tesco Price Promise offers customers reassurance on the price of their whole shop, in store and online, not just the big brand products.
"When family budgets are under pressure, that is the kind of help customers want."
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