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Don’t gobble rancid Tesco turkey. Know your rights

Your consumer rights when you buy food not for for human consumption

So, to another Tesco story. Tesco History with The Complaining Cow. But this time it isn’t involving me! This Christmas people appear to have bought gone off and rancid turkeys. Costing up to £59, the Tesco finest range is coming under fire. The Telegraph, The Guardian and others reported numerous people complaining on social media having bought a turkey that they either threw away or cooked and had their meal ruined and were ill. On Twitter there were claims of people being sick but some people didn’t believe that everyone would be il from one mouthful, or that one wouldn’t smell it was off before cooking. Tesco has said that it would provide full refunds for affected turkeys. But what are your rights? Are you entitled to more?

1) First and foremost under The Consumer Rights Act 2015 you are entitled to goods of satisfactory quality. Clearly this is not the case if you bought a rotten turkey, so are entitled to a full refund. You will need to evidence then purchase with any proof of purchase e.g. receipt, Clubcard record, statement etc. Evidence could be a photograph, report from your local council Environmental Services etc.

2) By breaching a contract (The Consumer Rights Act 2015) it should be considered that Tesco is liable for consequential loss. This means that if it ruined the rest of your meal you are entitled to the cost of the other food. So for instance, in the example regarding giblets used to make the gravy and poured over the food, Tesco is responsible for that too.

3) You are also entitled to loss of enjoyment of the meal. Harder to fight for, but if you were to argue in the Small Claims Court for loss of enjoyment on the big day you’d probably win and frankly trust me on this, although I have taken Tesco to court and won it is unlikely that they would let it go to court. Don’t forget photos of all the untouched turkey.

4) Been made ill? Prove it. Easily done. If you really have had food poisoning you would go to the doctor (each and everyone of you that has the sickness) and provide this evidence. You should also keep part of the turkey. Send some to Tesco for analysis and some to your local Environmental Health department.

5) Tesco has now said it is offering £75 as a goodwill gesture on top of the refund. You could go more if you feel that your loss was more and outline reasons using the Top 20 Tips for how to complain effectively.


For substantial information, advice, consumer law and templates for complaining effectively get the book! How to Complain Effectively: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!






By Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow

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

3 replies on “Don’t gobble rancid Tesco turkey. Know your rights”

Thank you for this information. I also purchased a turkey that, when opened on Christmas Day to put in oven, stank the kitchen out. I had to open the backdoor as the smell was so ‘rank’. I contacted Tesco on Boxing day and they refunded the price of the turkey, plus a goodwill gesture of a £25 gift card which I thought was a bit ‘off’ as we were having guests to dinner and guests on Boxing day when we were going to have cold turkey (a £25 bird). I am now led to understand that Tesco are offering a compensation of £75 for spoiling the day. My entire Christmas was ruined and I wonder if I am entitled to approach Tesco again for a further compensation package. What do you think?

Please see post above and links within and you will have to decide if you think you are entitled to more and can explain why.

Many, many years ago my brother worked for a supermarket chain during the Christmas and Easter holidays. The store only had x space for frozen turkeys so as new turkeys came to the store they would be checked for their ‘frozen-ness’. If they were very frozen they would be left outside for a few hours, if not they would be moved in to the freezers to be re frozen and some really frozen turkeys would be moved outside. And so it continued until all the turkeys were either sold or their was enough room in the freezers to keep them all.
The answer is to buy a fresh turkey in November and either freeze it yourself or cook it and then freeze the meat – the cooking kills off any dormant bacteria making the meat safe to freeze.

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