The Complaining Cow Meets New Tesco CEO Dave Lewis

Those who have been with me for a while will know that I think this is funny. Really funny. I started this blog with a complaint about Tesco back in July 2012 and how Clarke was pig ignorant compared to his predecessor and competition counterpart at Sainsburys. Then I ended up taking Tesco to court and then Tesco failed in paying up. Then there was the insect in the rice. Few others I think, then the last one was on my opinions on Clarke. Still say I was right and I saw the demise of Tesco coming years ago. (Links to all Tesco posts at bottom of page).

I didn’t actually mean for the blog to turn into a “Have a go at Tesco” site but it does appear to have more than its fair share of my complaints. Perhaps because Tesco is so big it therefore has more complaints, but I’m only using the one store so it is one store against all the other complaints so if you use that comparison one person one store then hey Tesco is pretty damn poor even if I shop more there than any other if you see what I mean?!

Anyway, Tesco annoyed me so it had to be done. So when Tesco ditched the ignorant one (mind you, did you see his pay off for being rubbish? I thought that only happened in the public sector where it is more difficult to get rid of incompetence! See here story in The Independent – it was reported that Clarke got £10mill! Surely not for crying out loud? I always say customer service is not rocket science but these people clearly need a rocket stuck somewhere with a touch of reality thrown in. And Dave if you’re reading this and I know you are, then in your meeting on Thursday – yes we would all like to see Clarke pay back some money please and give it to your charity department. Not that one that begins at home, but the one that gives out to the community).

So where was I? Ah yes – so when Clarke was pushed I sent the new to be CEO one of these bottles. Remember what the foolish, ignorant out of touch with reality IDS said? “What is it?” Ha! I see a new career for Clarke. Anyway, Dave wrote to say thank you and would like to meet up when he started and told me to keep on complaining as that is how they would improve! Ha again!!! Wrote and told him it was a good start! He had replied at least and appeared to have manners. Time will tell if he has more than just better manners about him.

Here’s the funny part. Now, unless you are new here, you will know it amused me when the financial scandal hit the press, to go and test him. Many of my Facebook page likers agreed, many others didn’t think I would email him! They hadn’t been round very long. So I emailed him. I kindly acknowledged that he was busy but perhaps he would like to hear some customer views? Anyway, after asking me to give a few days when I was available and my replying with, any except Friday, I was given a Friday. Seriously. Anyway. I met him. Maybe he’s astute, maybe he’s mad or maybe he was plain scared! Who knows, could be all 3. But we met for just short of two and a half hours and told him there’s more! Well the man asked me for my opinions, what did he expect, he’d seen the blog?! When I told him I emailed him to remind him he wanted to meet with me because the timing amused me he said it was “cruel” in good humour mind.

Dave Lewis Tesco CEO & The Complaining Cow
Dave Lewis Tesco CEO & The Complaining Cow

I got offered a cup of tea straight off which was a good start and I was just about to complain here that there were no biscuits but I vaguely remember he did offer actually so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. Next time on the plate just there, chocolate I think. 🙂 Earlier in the year I was invited up to AO which was great, the CEO with common sense. They treated me very well and it was a really interesting experience, but one tiny thing let them down, just one. I didn’t get a single cup of tea. When I got back to the hotel I drank 3 cups on the trot I think!


By the tobacco stand – didn’t notice that, urgh. That was his fault, he chose where to stand. Have to say, didn’t give me the shudders like taking a selfie with IDS did!

So, what did I tell him? I told him what sort of image Tesco has, as if he didn’t know. I told him that Adrian said “I used to shop there always. Now I don’t, I shop at Lidl and have done for 6 years saving circa £9,000 at the last reckoning. That’s all he needs to know!” Told him to look at the list of complaints on the Facebook page to save me listing them so go add your complaints there as well as below. 🙂 He said we may have different opinions on things – I said that of course we will, but mine would be right!

Most importantly told him my Mum’s complaints about Tesco and my 6 year old son’s – that the people who choose the shopping keep giving him pink Kinder eggs and toothbrushes. He asked me if I told Dave off. I did son, I did!

Told him his job was quite easy, frankly. It is not possible that he could be as bad as Clarke and short of going bankrupt it couldn’t get much worse so there is only one way to go. Sainsbury’s had a great CEO, (look at this article in the Guardian – shows just how much he was liked and respected by employee and the public) he had very good manners. As Marcus of said “Leahy and King were gentleman.” Being a decent human being would appear to be important in making a success of a company. Filling King’s shoes – not easy. To be fair Clarke had a similar job filling Leahy’s. But he failed. Big time. I think the new CEO at Sainsbury’s has a much more difficult job than our Dave – whether I shall go offer my help to him remains to be seen…. I really should go and test his manners shouldn’t I?

Whether Dave or his driver last when they see how long it is going to take them to get back to Richmond from Cheshunt come December also remains to be seen!

I sort of mentioned the finance situation… he was good humoured about it, possibly because I took the mickey somewhat, probably light relief, but he  did say at that this stage he was not going to defend or otherwise his finance staff.

I found out the Tesco PR department is absolutely dire. My words not his. Tesco actually does some good stuff which we don’t know about. (I know, high praise indeed given that it’s from me but I am harsh but fair.) Someone at the top has no idea what everyone else in the company is doing and is only firefighting or doing nothing and giving no direction or the whole department is utterly useless. Now, whether that someone at the top was Clarke or the head of PR (ultimately it is the CEO of course, but for how long will the new incumbent be able to play the “It wasn’t me guv” card?) it will make a nice change to pick on a  different department 🙂 ‘cos yes I’m going back. I’m going to chat to some of his senior staff, he’s even buying some of my books for them. There better be tea and biscuits.

Tesco Customer Service Contact Details

UK customer enquiries

Tesco Customer Services
Freepost SCO2298
Dundee DD1 9NF
Tel: +44 (0) 800 505555


Oh and looky look I give you Tesco CEO email address He apparently only gets 2000 emails a day I’m sure he’d welcome some more. 🙂

Links to all Tesco posts

Fewer than 45% of People in the UK Use their Consumer Rights

Well that was interesting. Thank you to everyone who responded to the survey How, When and Why Do You Complain?

Key findings

How many people complain?
According to this survey undertaken July 2014 70% of us complain when we receive poor service. This rises to 90% who complain when we purchase a faulty item. If you look to your own networks this doesn’t really ring true and I think many people put that they generally complain because they felt that they should! Or it is not every time they receive poor service. Or many of those complaints are not successful in gaining redress. This theory is backed up by answers to another question, “If you usually don’t complain is it because…” Now, 59% of respondents gave reasons and only 41% said that they always complained.  However, complaining is on the increase and the latter figures fit in with The Ombudsman’s report on complaining. 38 million customers complained in 2013. But 40 million more complaints went unaddressed as people stayed quiet. 48% and 52%.

In addition, as detailed below many more people are now using social media to complain and some people may consider writing a 140 character tweet as regularly complaining! It’s not necessarily always gaining redress and it’s very difficult to assert your legal rights in 140 characters!

46% say that when they don’t complain it is because it is too much effort or takes too much time.

Gaining redress
When considering purchasing an item/service either online or in store how easy it will be to gain redress if anything goes wrong is a factor in 74% of people’s decision making about where to buy (either sometimes or always). The same number of people shop online as do in store because they think it will be easier to return an item that way.

How well do you know your legal rights?
This is what I found the most interesting. Given that 70- 90% of people say they always complain, only 7% said they know their legal rights well and use them regularly. 5% know the basics of the Sale and Supply of Goods Act and Supply of Goods and Services Act. A further 33% will check out their rights before complaining, so assuming that they won’t always do that for various reasons, we know that fewer than 45% of people use their legal rights. So 7 + 5 + 33 = the 45% but I believe that is lower as some of the 33% won’t always check out their legal rights and complain.

Uswitch undertook a survey in May 2014 and found that almost two fifths of consumers (38%) are unsure about their rights and 36% say they do not know them well. Only 4% claim to be truly confident.

How many people do you tell about poor service?
Remember the line “Receive good service tell 1, receive poor service tell 10”? Not any more.
Less than 2% of people tell no-one.
49% tell 1 – 10 people
11% tell 10 – 20 and now
38% tell hundreds and sometimes thousands of people due to social media.
So companies be warned! It is wholly irrelevant how many complaints you actually receive! Less than 60% don’t always complain but look how many people are they telling?

Social media
68% of respondents use social media to complain.
37% of those find it effective sometimes
16% find it always effective
12% find it is never effective
Clearly social media is on the rise. There are more details on what social media works for in complaining here.

When you receive good service do you give feedback?
The majority of people think they do. I think some customer service people may disagree!

It would appear that people think they complain more than they do, certainly less know their legal rights. There is an increase in using social media to complain and whilst this may be considered complaining, it often doesn’t gain the legal redress that longer correspondence elicits. The main reasons for people not complaining are that it takes too much time and effort which might suggest that companies make it difficult to complain? Thoughts around how easy it is to gain redress when things go wrong are becoming a key factor in where people choose to buy.

People really need to complain more. If they did perhaps service would improve it would have to. And now, to help you, here’s a book! #complainlikeacow

How to Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and RESULTS! Take a look at the reviews too! #chuffed 🙂

Don’t forget, The Complaining Cow’s Top 20 Tips Tips here and video here:

The Acts of Law Protecting You from Poor Service & Faulty Items

For goods and services made on or after the 1st October 2015 see the Consumer Rights Act

Sale of Goods Act 1979 and updated Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994
Your rights under this Act are with the retailer and not the manufacturer. (Unless bought on Hire Purchase in which case the Supply of Goods Implied Terms Act 1973 applies, which makes the HP company responsible for the quality of the goods supplied and gives you slightly different rights.) Items must be:
Of satisfactory quality
Fit for purpose
Last a reasonable length of time
And as described

If not, the customer is entitled to a full refund or replacement. You can accept a repair but you do not have to do so and you maintain your rights if the repair is not satisfactory. The repair must be undertaken in a reasonable length of time.

Items should last a reasonable length of time. It is generally considered that an item should be returned within a few weeks. However, if an item breaks in the first 6 months it is considered that the fault was there at time of purchase and it is down to the retailer to prove otherwise. After 6 months it is generally considered that the customer has to prove that the fault was there at time of purchase.

You are not entitled to refunds for a change of mind purchase except for purchases made off premises such as online. Then you are covered by the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013.

This Act was updated in 1994 amended and the word “merchantable quality” to “satisfactory quality”.

Generally for a full refund, you need to return the item up to 4 weeks. There is no set time but 3 – 4 weeks for larger items is considered normal. However, you can and should argue for a replacement at the very least and not a repair for larger items such as televisions and washing machines. I believe that if you were to go to court and test the “general rule” of 3 – 4 weeks at 4 weeks wanting a refund you’d win. Whenever I have threatened it or advised people to do so, the company has agreed which makes me think that a court would see in the consumer’s favour. Don’t be fobbed off either.

Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982
A service can include goods e.g. fitting a bedroom whilst providing the furniture or without goods such as providing a providing accountancy services.

All services should be carried out:
with reasonable care and skill
in a reasonable time (if there is no specific time agreed); and
for a reasonable charge (if no fixed price was set in advance)

For examples of how these Acts have been used just look all over the blog! 🙂 Also of course examples of how to use this in stories and templates in the book and more tips on how to complain here.

legal action

Threaten legal action through the  Small Claims Court if the retailer is in breach of these Acts. Then do it!