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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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Latest News Online shopping

Debenhams – elevator going down – what are your consumer rights

 

Debenhams sign

 

 

Debenhams – the department store retailer – faces going into administration for the third time as talks with JD Sports failed yesterday (30 November 2020). After nearly 250 years in business, its doors are set to close for the last time, although it continues to trade while administrators seek to clear stock.

So what are your rights when shopping with Debenhams?

Gift cards

  1. Get them spent! And quickly! Debenhams is currently still trading, so you are able to use them. Once it stops trading it is unlikely that it will accept gift cards. It is also worth remembering that one of the reasons that Debenhams is struggling is the collapse of Arcadia and you may also have a gift card for one of the Arcadia group stores. It, too, is still taking gift cards but both Debenhams and Arcadia could stop taking gift cards at any time.
  2. If you have a gift card or a voucher for any amount over £100 and it was paid for by credit card then you have protection from the credit company under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.
  3. It is possible that if you paid through your bank on a debit card, you could get your money back through This is a voluntary scheme and you will need to check with your bank.
  4. If a new owner is found for Arcadia or Debehams it will not have to honour the voucher or gift card but it is always worth checking. They may well be of the opinion that if they honour the voucher that you will return and if they don’t you will not go there ever again and tell your friends not to either!
  5. If you have bought your vouchers through a third-party website it is worth contacting them. They do not legally have to refund you the money but they may do so as a goodwill gesture.
  6. If you haven’t spent your gift vouchers in time and the company isn’t honouring vouchers, contact the administration company as soon as possible. You will be added to the creditors list, along with staff wages, the taxman etc., so it is highly unlikely that you will get all your money but you have no chance at all if you don’t register your interest!
  7. Keep hold of your vouchers. Even if the company goes into an administration a buyer may be found later which may honour the vouchers.

Debenhams shop front

Shopping at Debenhams now

  • Your rights remain the same. Currently, Debenhams is trading, so your rights remain the same. If an item has become faulty you are covered by the
  • Consumer Rights Act 2015. Once it stops trading it will be more difficult to get your money back.
  • You have protection from the credit company under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Actif you bought the item on a credit card and the item was more than £100.
  • It is possible that if you paid through your bank on a debit card, you could get your money back through This is a voluntary scheme and you will need to check with your bank.
  • The administrators will want to raise as much cash as possible, so will continue to sell goods, where possible. This is where you may find some bargains both in-store and online. If you buy online you should still be able to return items if necessary, within 14 days, under the Cons
    umer Contracts Regulations. 
  • Remember, though, that if any item you buy becomes faulty you may well not be able to return it if no new owner is found for Debenhams! You may be able to try the manufacturer but your contract is still with the retailer.

Help for employees who will lose their jobs

Coronavirus – 4 steps to take if you lose your job