Audi reneges on free dinner offer

Siobhan Yap was offered a free meal by an Audi garage which damaged her car ran up a £700 bill at a Michelin-starred London restaurant.

She bought a £20,000 car from Audi in Watford and the car was damaged before she took possession. She says she asked for a refund and they wouldn’t give it to her but they did offer a repair. They also gave her a courtesy car I believe which covered the inconvenience. They also said as a goodwill gesture, have a meal for two on us. So she did. She treated her mother to dinner at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Covent Garden. Here’s the bill:

Audi offered to pay £200 and have now offered half. The item was discussed on a phone in on Three Counties Radio and at the end of the show presenter Jonathan Vernon-Smith was undecided about what he thought and was going to contact Audi with the opinions shared on the show and Siobhan’s responses and see what happened.

So the obvious came to most people’s mind who rung up the show:

1) Serves Audi right for not giving an upper limit and they make enough profit
2) Good on her, amusing
3) Morally wrong, Audi would not have expected anyone to spend as she did, nor so much on alcohol

I was asked to speak! For me, it is difficult because I would not have let it get to this stage. I would have had the full refund thank you very much. One is entitled to that in this case. The law covers cars! Here are your rights when buying goods and services. However, according to Siobhan she tried this and Audi refused. Don’t take that rubbish – see Tips here. Lots more advice in the book of course 🙂 Right back to the story.

As Siobhan said, so many people don’t know their legal rights so companies like Audi can get away with fob offs. So once in this situation are there any rules? Well Audi were stupid, frankly. An upper limit should have been set and so I am tempted to say that they got what they deserved. However, one could assume that they didn’t say “Enjoy yourself at an experience/have a slap up meal”. So where does she stand legally? Well under the Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994 a consumer has an obligation to be reasonable. So this would be a good test case! Would a judge see a meal for £714 reasonable? If so she wins the outstanding balance if not she doesn’t.

So what do you think? What would you have done?



Sainsbury’s nectar turns sour

Supermarket’s forthcoming trading figures may reflect disillusioned customers

Sainsbury's nectar turns sourFrom 11th April Sainsbury’s reduce their loyalty points on their Nectar card. This move from Sainsburys may save them money in the short term but in the long term it could hurt the supermarket hugely.

When Sainsburys announced this change last year it said that it would be making better and bigger offers, with more included in their double-up voucher scheme at Christmas. However, in reality the “double up points” scheme that was limited to £20 per department and many staff didn’t even know what was in and what was out of the offer with confusion around Christmas gifts and food. £20 limit on toys for a family of 4 isn’t very helpful either. I know I just kept going back and doubling up for alcohol! Very inconvenient for customers.

This sort of thing, reducing offers and making it complicated annoys customers greatly and for Sainsbury’s to increase their profits they need to be mindful of making things more difficult for customers if they want to develop loyalty. In glaring contrast, Tesco has the more developed reward scheme, with the most frequent doubling-up of value and range of items to spend points on. It also improved its voucher scheme for Christmas, having simplified the doubling-up process so customers could spend across departments with no limit. As you know, I have had several run ins with Tesco and people often ask why I still shop there. The loyalty scheme is right up there, I’ve saved hundreds of pounds using it making it much cheaper than other supermarkets overall.

In a benchmarking survey of 1,000 UK consumers, the marketing and data specialists GI Insight, found that companies in the supermarket sector are by far the most popular loyalty scheme providers, as more than three quarters of respondents are members of at least one supermarket loyalty programme. The supermarkets, in terms of the percentage of consumers who are members, remain active and recognise the brand’s ability to effectively analyse their data to deliver relevant and useful offers.

Supermarkets fighting the price wars and offering price matching need to find other ways of retaining and attracting customers. I think Mike Coupe is at risk of making the same mistakes as Clarke. Never mind all the analysis of this, that and the other, Tesco’s downturn in fortunes boiled down to one simple thing, Clarke didn’t listen to customers and that filtered through the company. With only an eye on growth and making more money he didn’t care about exiting customers and they left as a result.

Loyalty must work both ways

Customers flocked to social media when Sainsburys announced that they would be reducing the value of nectar points, making their feelings clear, with many customers saying that they would be leaving the supermarket. It will be interesting to see what the following quarter is like too, when the cut in loyalty points kicks in and if Coupe continues not to listen to customers. Perhaps it about time that supermarkets took on an ‘Every listen helps’ slogan”!

Should you wish to contact Sainsbury’s CEO, do so here.

What are your thoughts of the loyalty schemes?