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The Complaining Cow Meets New Tesco CEO Dave Lewis

The background

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. The Complaining Cow’s history with Tesco for all continuing stories.

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).

Writing to the new CEO

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.

The Complaining Cow meets Tesco CEO

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.

PR Department

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. 🙂

By Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow

Consultant | Author | Speaker | Blogger | Presenter | Journalist
Helping to make, prevent and deal with complaints

21 replies on “The Complaining Cow Meets New Tesco CEO Dave Lewis”

So pleased to hear I’m not the only one who is always complaining about Tesco. I have been complaining about their Teddington store for the last 2 years, after shopping there since 1993 without any problem. They have completely lost the plot. I’m forever pointing out out-of-stock situations (even at times with regular purchases like eggs and milk!), ridiculous stocking policy (e.g. 13 facings of shaving gel and only one of foam), offers on packs with no explanations. I’ve even witnessed arguments among members of staff! The board showing pics of staff members suggests that the store does not have a manager, only a deputy manager, and it shows. I’ve written several times to Tesco customer services but it has had little effect.

Please could you advise me how I go about complaining to David Lewis the tip man. Bought two 49 inch LCD tv’s in the black Friday sale . They arrived first problem not 3 d as advertised .second problem the sound needs fixing on one ( engineer coming Friday) last problem 2 nd tv broken screen and no more in stock to replace also price gone up. Garr been on the phone for hours trying with no luck to sort it. Thanks Kay

What is it like to be a bought woman how many freebies did you get to buy your support I never thought you be so gulable maybe you have changed your view on the big monster but at least there are still people willing to speak out and I in the process of setting up a Tesco complaints web site I have between 60&70 ready to put on the site with Tesco being the key word so when ever anyone types in Tesco the first thing will be the complaints page

Thank you for your comment. I wondered how long it would be before someone accused me of this, it came a little sooner than I thought though given that I complained to them the day I wrote this post. 1) Please see the rest of the site, you will see I am a woman of principle and will not be bought. 2) Please feel free to email Dave Lewis and ask him if he thinks he will be able to silence me when I want to complain, he knew the answer the first time he met me, let alone the second and please forward me the reply I’d love to see it! 3) THE day I put up this subsequent blog post I sent a complaint to Tesco regarding their click and collect service and publicised it on Twitter 4) the cheque Tesco sent me for the books they bought (that is NOT a freebie btw, I have serious costs to cover for crying out loud!) didn’t clear – you may have missed it but I did have fun telling several thousand people on Twitter and Facebook 5) Whoa! Who said I had changed my mind on Tesco? Please re reread the post and all the others. Takes more than a couple of meetings to change my mind. I will always speak my mind and will always be fair and that means if Tesco do bad I will say so but so will I if they do good. It’s just that they don’t do much good at the mo do they?! They might do some more good if they listen to people like us but time will tell, NOT a few freebies trust me (and if you read the rest of the blog, the book and ask the people who follow me on Twitter and like my FB page you will).

Good luck with your website, there used to be one doing just that on Tesco but it seems to have died, you may want to get in contact with them- I’m all for sharing info and if there are any cases that catch my eye I’ll be sure to share them for you. Always fascinates me that when you put in “Tesco Complaints” into Google my very first post from 2012 comes up after the Tesco site pages and not the court case ones!! May have changed, not looked for a while. My favourite though was a few weeks ago, I looked at my stats for what people were searching for when they found my site and “Problems with cows in Tesco” came up. Made me laugh anyway!

I have a 21 month old son whom I bought a ok of 5 socks from tesco I had to get the ambulance out to him yesterday as a price of cotton string from inside the dock had caught round his middle toe and had cut right into his skin and was cutting off the blood supply he was in a lot of distress the ambulance came and managed to free the cotton from round his toe after much screaming and we were both in distress seeing him go through this pain the ambulance guy told me to complain to tesco and gave me a report the cotton he got caught round his toe was burgundy so I then went to tesco with the offending sock the report , pics of his injury and they sent off a internal complaint was just wondering if I’ve done all that can b done many thanks

As a mother I know that would be just awful. Not sure of what you mean when you say “internal” as to whether that was the store dealing with it or it was sent to Head Office or what? Personally I don’t trust anything internal unless I have sent it! I would advise anyone with a similar event to email the Head office here is the CEO email address it should get picked up, mention my name if necessary!

Do you know how much Tesco value their customers. I know exactly. £500
That may not sound too bad, but that is what they have offered me for the inconvenience of not being able to live in, rent out or sell a flat I bought from them for over 1 year. Yes that’s right. Rain came into the brand new flat every time it rained hard and it took them over 1 year to fix it. In that time I had to take days off work to allow their contractors to come in to investigate and fail to fix the problem. Often leaving me with huge holes in my ceiling and no insulation. All this time I was patience personified but having almost no use from my home. I also complained to the CEO eventually after getting NO RESPONSE from the people responsible or from the customer service team. That did get some reaction, a meeting needing more time off work, an accusation of money grabbing and a derisory offer of £500.
So I warn you – DO NOT BUY A PROPERTY from TESCO or its subsidiary SPENHILL.
They also subcontract the tiresome task of correcting defects to another useless company AFTERBUILD – steer well clear of them too.

It’s an absolute waste of time contacting Dave Lewis.
I had to send many reminders to get a response from his office. I have been assured many times that he reviews all emails sent to his office, if that is the case then I do not think much of Mr Lewis or Tesco. It should never be necessary to have to send so many reminders.
My issue is with the Hudl2, Tesco have reserved at least 2GB for bloatware so you don’t get anywhere near the memory they advertise you should. I understand some of the 16GB (say 5GB) is needed for the operating system. I don’t want the other 2GB to be reserved for their apps with not option to remove them and get the space back. These are my figures as they are not allowed to tell me the real numbers. Apparently the agreement they have prevents them from disclosing it. It doesn’t prevent them from discussing the Hudl2 in detail with the guy that published instructions on how to hack the Hudl2. You would think they wouldn’t really want to welcome someone who did that with open arms, wouldn’t you. Its hypocrisy at the very least. Also you do not get anywhere near the 8 hours battery time they advertise, it’s nearer half that under normal use conditions.
If anyone ever gets to meet Mr Lewis again I would like to come along, I have more than a few suggestions on how he can improve customer service.

Threaten legal action (small claims court) See tips outline all costs that you will be reclaiming including out of pocket expenses for attending court.

The customer service is atrocious. I had Clubcard vouchers stolen and used. They took details and come back with 3 differing amounts used to replace the stolen vouchers, then agreed with my calculation. Told me that they would send a money card to the value within 6 hours (this was 2 weeks ago) and then was told that another team had to activate the money card. they then proceeded to cancel my remaining vouchers and remove points etc. sent emails to the customer support team, no response. sent social media messages and only get “sorry for your frustration, they’ll get back to you” responses. Also queried the security of the system, and they just said change your password, its fine… (note- that it can also store payment card details!!! so, no I don’t really think it is fine) Emailed a number of the “executive team” not one response. Rightly or wrongly we spend LOTS of money each year with Tesco. So, now missing over £250 of clubcard vouchers and no idea what the status is. The mysterious “executive response team” are apparently looking at it. I’m just hoping Dave finally gets round to the many emails I have now sent him!!… I can see why they are losing market share and customers. You have a great site by the way, glad I happened across it Complaining Cow :o) Cheers.

Thank you – see my other stories re Tesco – I took them to court… you could do the same 🙂

I have complained to tesco club card,on five occasions and have put in an official complaint,I was told that I would be conacted by two different mamager and had to phone again,but still nothing anywhere near resolved,I was offered a card ttransfer with a one off transfer feee of 2.99%,this was transfered to my normal club card and then told that i would be charged with the normal high intert rate until the transfer was paid,and that any future purchases would also incur high interest charges what is the point in doing the transfer when i have to pay off within one month or accept interest chaged on all purchases and still get charged 2.99%

good article. Next time you get the chance to talk to him you could ask him about problems relating to employees and the latest wave of redudancies and why across the business they are not fair and transparent with different sectors receiving different redundancy payments. An indeedibly dishonest company with absolutely not morals.
Regards TC

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