Supermarket chain Tesco withdraws its “double the difference” price guarantee after finding out that certain customers abused the system. Tesco ended its campaign voluntarily, as opposed to Dutch chain Albert Heijn, who were forced to end their “always the lowest price!” guarantees which competition agencies found to be “misleading and unfair”.
Buy for £81, get £90 refund
Tesco started its “double the difference” campaign after competitor Asda claimed its prices were always “10% lower than any other supermarket chain”. In response, Tesco promised to refund any articles that consumers found cheaper elsewhere, and to double the price difference.
Several customers took advantage of the scheme, using social networks and websites like MoneySavingExpert to share which supermarkets had short term promotions, buying there in large quantities and then reclaiming the difference, doubled, from Tesco. In one example, a customer bought a shopping cart full of items for £126 at Tesco, only to show that Asda's promotions had the price of the cart down to £81... earning him twice the difference (£90) in Tesco coupons.
Asda enjoys self-inflicted damage
Tesco's response of ending the programme after only two months was met with Schadenfreude by competitor Asda – who directly caused the campaign in the first place: “they made a promise they could not keep”. Managementtoday also blamed Tesco, stating that these customers did exactly what the programme was for: finding cheaper articles in other supermarkets and being rewarded with twice the difference. “So basically, Tesco is criticising customers for taking full advantage of a deal they'd been offered. Not exactly a PR triumph...”
Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn also revoked its Lowest Price Guarantee last month, after being forced by a competition agency. The Dutch chain had found out that its customers can be “overactive” too, and had during the two years of the Guarantee limited the application of its guarantee ever more. “In the Netherlands” became “in the same city”, “any item” became “one item per day” etc., until the programme was shut down completely.