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Following an undercover operation lasting several months, Lambeth ...
Following an undercover operation lasting several months, Lambeth

LBC's trading standards team has prosecuted Sainsbury's for overcharging

customers on supposed 'special offers'.

The operation began when trading standards officer David Morris

noticed that items offering special discounts such as 'Buy one get the

second half-price' and 'Buy three, save£1' at various Sainsbury's Local

stores weren't being given.

A month after notifying Sainsbury's the problem had still not been

resolved. Mr Morris then spent several weeks visiting all six Sainsbury's

Local stores in Lambeth, purchasing various 'special offer' items. Problems

were found at every store, with overcharging occurring on at least 31

separate occasions.

On one occasion 10 out of 11 items purchased resulted in the officer

being overcharged, adding around 25% to the final bill. For example a

honeydew melon supposedly reduced in price from£1.79 to£1.29 was instead

charged at£1.95 at the checkout. On another occasion raspberries were

marked as '£1.49 or two for£2.50', but at the checkout£2.65 was charged

for just one item. The strangest incident was when a checkout assistant

asked Mr Morris to calculate the discounts, as she was 'no good at maths.'

On 2 June at Camberwell Green magistrates court Sainsbury's pleaded

guilty to 10 offences under the Consumer Protection Act for giving

misleading price indications. Sainsbury's were ordered to pay a total of

£19,441 in fines and costs, to be paid within 14 days. The error occurred

due to packaging marked for Sainsbury's Superstores being sold at

Sainsbury's Local stores. The 'special offer' price needed to be manually


Mr Morris said: 'I'm very pleased with the result. It took a long

time to put the case together but hopefully it will stop problems like this

in the future. It's good to see the court appreciates the serious nature of

these offences and handed out appropriate penalties - and it's also a

reminder to shoppers to check their receipts together with their change.'

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