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Business Companies customer service Complaining about customer service Deliveries Latest News Online shopping Online shopping and deliveries Topical

Tesco website crash – every little helps?

Major supermarket online shopping hit by mystery attack?

Tesco’s website was been “down” between Saturday 23 October 2021 and today (Monday 25 October 2021). The website and app crashed after what Tesco said were attempts “to interfere with our systems”. In other words, hacking…

This has obviously been annoying for anyone trying to book a shopping delivery slot but also for anyone wanting to change their order or cancel it. How many of us book a slot with a pint of milk in it to add items throughout the week and day before delivery? To say nothing of the problems this has caused those who are self-isolating.

Tesco website down

It is concerning that Tesco took nearly 48 hours to resolve the problem, which suggests that the issues could be more than just not being able to change an order. An outage of this length is unusual unless there has been a severe impact, which suggests that Tesco’s business continuity plans, along with their incident response drills, could use some attention and investment.

I have been looking at the issue from a legal perspective. She advises those who have a Delivery Saver, Click and Collect or Delivery Saver Plan could be due a partial refund if they have been affected.

You have paid for a service and under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, if you have not received the service you paid for, you are entitled to a refund. In this case you should certainly be entitled to a proportion of the plan.

Are there data breach issues?

At the moment Tesco says that there is no reason to believe that there has been a data breach. But it remains to be seen whether the hackers have obtained personal data. Tesco has 72 hours in which to inform the Information Commissioner’s Office if there has been a breach of data.

James Bores, from Bores Security Consultancy, comments that assurances that customer data is not impacted are common in these circumstances, and often meaningless. He says “From the little information that is available it does not appear to be a standard ‘Denial of Service’ attack (intended to shut down a system, usually with a ransom for restoration), nor a ransomware attack of the type with which we’re all highly familiar. Given that Tesco declared the search function was impacted, some sort of attempt to manipulate or modify the underlying database certainly seems possible, and one of the most common ways for this to be carried out is through database injection.”

Your rights when there is a data breach

So, what are your rights if your personal data is exposed as a result of a breach?

Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), if there has been a breach of data:

1) Organisations must assess the risk to your personal rights and freedoms.

2) High risk breaches must be notified to the persons whose data has been affected without undue delay and with a description of the likely consequences.

3) Organisations must describe the measures taken, being taken or proposed to be taken to deal with the data breach. If applicable, organisations should also describe the measures to mitigate any possible adverse effects.

What happens next?

A Tesco spokesperson said:

“Our online grocery website and app are now back up and running. Our teams have worked around the clock to restore service, and we’re really sorry to our customers for the inconvenience caused. The disruption was the result of an attempt to interfere with our systems, which had caused problems with the search function on the site.

There is no reason to believe that this issue impacted customer data and we continue to take ongoing action to make sure all data stays safe.”

Bores says “At this point Tesco’s security team will be trying to get forensic data to determine exactly what happened, as it can be extremely difficult to uncover the underlying flaw. They will then look to find ways to prevent it re-occurring.”

Tesco needs to be transparent and inform customers about exactly what happened, why it happened and reassure them that their data is safe. In the meantime, consumers need to be aware that scammers are rife and will take advantage of incidents like this. If anyone contacts you from Tesco regarding a data breach, it may be a scam, so beware.

Download Tesco & The Complaining Cow case study.

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Business Christmas Companies customer service Complaining about customer service Topical

Tesco fails to deliver – on delivery slots!

Tesco fails to plan for Christmas

Tesco products in a basket

For many years now Tesco like other supermarkets has offered home delivery of your shopping. You can book hourly slots or flexible slots from 6.00am to 11.00pm every day. Tesco also offers a Delivery Saver options where customers can pay for a subscription-based delivery service to save money on the cost of deliveries.

Yesterday (12 November 2020) Tesco customers who are Delivery Savers received notification that slots for Christmas would open two weeks earlier than normal, at 7.00am the following day.

As you would expect, in a repeat of what we saw at the beginning of the March 2020 lockdown, people tried to get slots by staying up to midnight to book a slot as soon as it became available. However, customers queued online for well over an hour and in some cases more than two hours.

Tesco and the Twitter feed complaints

The Tesco Twitter feed was plastered with complaints about the site:

Many people complained that friends and relatives who had been in the queue for less time than them but that they were still waiting.

For many of those who were able to finally get a slot they then couldn’t checkout!

 

Others got through and found their basket had been emptied and had to start all over again.

At 9.45am a Tesco Spokesperson said:

“Demand for online slots over the festive period is high, and we have more slots this Christmas than ever before. We are experiencing high volumes of traffic to our website and Groceries app and are temporarily limiting the number of customers using it. We’re sorry for any inconvenience caused and would like to reassure customers that there are still slots available for both home delivery and Click & Collect over the Christmas period.”

However, this was not strictly true, as slots were not available from 8.45am:

And just a few hours after opening there were still no slots available. This was the situation at 10.00am:

showing all slots from 21/12/20 booked

Tesco Twitter team wrongly advising customers about delivery slots

Despite this, the Tesco Twitter team was still advising people that slots were available. It admitted that there were technical problems causing some of the issues.

Others offered ways round:

and using more than one device or having lots of tabs open can help too.

Consumers give Tesco ideas on how to solve delivery slot issue

Numerous people told the team that the system was wrong and suggested solutions, such as using previous information from customers:

Other ideas included: giving priority to people who had been on the delivery scheme for longer than others, especially as some join the scheme purely for Christmas; informing people of where they are in a position in the queue; releasing some slots at different times of the day, especially as the planned 7.00am time left many parents unable to both watch the site and get children ready for school.

Tesco and the delivery problem

During lockdown many people tried to book a delivery slot and many of these people would not even have been Delivery Saver customers. So, in theory, today should have seen fewer customers trying to book a slot!  But it was chaotic and far worse than through lockdown, when people were left without delivery slots. This time they had to wait for two hours to be told they had missed a slot or get beaten by someone who had waited less time than them!

Tesco has increased the number of its delivery slots from 600,000 to 1.5million a week – which is more than double what was available at the start of the coronavirus lockdown but it’s not clear how many more, if any since the end of lockdown when we know slots increased hugely. In may 2020 it was 1.2 million.

Businesses need to be much better at planning these things. Christmas isn’t like COVID, it can be predicted! Tesco needs to learn lessons from previous years and indeed from throughout this year, when reliable home delivery has become so important.

The Complaining Cow – free support for businesses

It takes 5 times as much to gain a new customer to retain one. So work on turning your customers into superfans who do much of the heavy lifting for you!

Join the Facebook Group Increase Sales through Customer Service: Compassion, Care and  Integrity  A private group where you can give and get support, advice and share good practice on how to improve customer service.

Free download Customer Service 5 ways to get rave reviews & referrals a few tweaks to your customer service can help you reduce the risk to your company’s reputation, finances and impact on customers and increase sales.

Case study: Tesco and a consumer champion