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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Christmas Deliveries Latest News Online shopping and deliveries Topical

10 top tips and consumer advice regarding Xmas returns during the pandemic

Give the unwanted present a better future

Another Christmas has been and gone. Strange as it may have been for many of us, one thing is for sure: some of us received presents we didn’t really want!

So, what are your rights when it comes to returning unwanted Christmas presents? It has become a little more complicated due to Covid. (What hasn’t?)

10 top tips on your rights and what to do with unwanted presents:

10 Top Tips and advice regarding Xmas returns during Covid with three box presents

1) A store does not have to take back an unwanted present. It will depend on the store’s policy as to whether they will accept an item for a refund or a voucher as a goodwill gesture. Many, particularly the large stores, will do this and extend their returns policy timeframe.

2) The contract is always between the purchaser and the retailer. Therefore you will need a gift receipt (which transfers the rights from the purchaser to the gift recipient) or the original receipt.

3) Some larger stores may take an item for a refund without a receipt but remember they don’t have to do this and will offer you the price that the item is currently selling at, so hope it’s not in the sale!

4) If the item is faulty, not as described or hasn’t lasted a reasonable length of time, then it is a breach of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and you are entitled to a full refund (within 30 days of purchase) or replacement or repair but you will need the proof of purchase.

5) If the item was bought online and you have a gift receipt, you have 14 days from the point of receiving the item to notify the online retailer about returning the item and a further 14 days to return the item. It will depend on the trader’s terms and conditions as to whether you have to pay postage.

6) If the item was bought in store and would normally accept a return but it is closed due to Covid tier restrictions, it is worth emailing the store to notify them and ask what their policy is. You will then have a written record and a reply to inform you of their policy. Many will extend their policies as they try and keep custom.

Presents warpped up n boxes shades of red and brown

7) You could try to return the item that was bought in store via the post but you must arrange this with the retailer and get written confirmation and details of how to do this as many retailers, even (unbelievably!) the larger stores are not set up to do this.

8) A retailer is very likely to give you a refund for an unwanted present on a gift card. Make sure you spend this quickly. In the current climate if a shop sadly goes into administration cards are unlikely to be accepted. Many will last only a year or two too and you may well forget that you have it. Spend it or lose it.

Looking a Gift Card in the Mouth

9) If you can’t return an unwanted gift you can do a number of things: Upcycle, donate to charity, give toiletries and food gifts to a food bank, contact your council social services department to ask to whether unwanted homeware and toys could be donated to a family or toy library, keep for fundraisers and even look at renting! Many people now hire out anything from power tools to baby clothes! More information can be found at What to do with the ghost of Christmas Present?

10) If you intend to regift make sure you make a note of who gave you what, as it is quite common for people to regift something back to the person who gave it to them! Don’t donate to your school fete a present that could easily be noticed by your friend and check for any personal messages on calendars books etc. before donating!

Make this the year the year you have those discussions about reducing the amount you spend on gifts! Raise the conversation later in the year, talk about wastage, giving to charity instead (many people do this instead of sending cards now, so this is just an extension) or just giving to children!

Coronavirus COVID-19 rights, refunds, reschedules for more help and consumer advice on purchases throughout the pandemic.

Here’s to a better 2021 with less wastage and more support for the charities which so desperately need us.


What are your rights when returning items at Christmas?

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And one for the New Year!

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