Store giant Tesco fined over strawberry pricing

Supermarket giant Tesco has been fined £300,000 for misleading the public over a half-price offer on punnets of strawberries.


The company was ordered to pay the fine at Birmingham Crown Court after admitting misleading customers in 2011 by claiming punnets of British strawberries were half price for a longer period of time than they were sold at a higher amount.

In a prosecution brought by Birmingham City Council’s trading standards department, Tesco admitted offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations Act 2008, the authority said yesterday.

The case found that during various dates in summer 2011, Tesco sold 400g punnets of British strawberries marked as half price at £1.99, with the previous prices of £2.99 and £3.99 crossed out.

The offer ran for 14 weeks, whereas its original higher price of £3.99 was available for a shorter length of time. Under the pricing practices guide, the lower price sale should not last longer than the time the higher price was available.

Tesco then created a further offer for 400g punnets of British strawberries, which were on sale at £1.99 including a pot of cream – marked “£1.99 free fresh single cream 150ml”, the council said.

The offer had no mention of a previous price and the strawberries were then back on sale at £1.99 without the cream, with the indication that they were again half price. The case concerned a Tesco store in Sheldon, Birmingham, but was widened to stores nationally.

A Tesco spokeswoman apologised “sincerely”, saying: “We sell over 40,000 products in our stores, with thousands on promotion at any one time, but even one mistake is one too many.”