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Sainsbury's takes Tesco price promise to judicial review

01 November 2013 by Alexandra Jones

Sainsbury’s is seeking a judicial review after the Advertising Standards Authority's (ASA) adjudication over Tesco's misleading Price Promise.

Sainsbury’s is fighting Tesco’s advertisements that it believes diminish customers’ rights to make shopping choices based on all relevant factors, including ethics, provenance and price.


The judicial review follows a recent review of the case which found that although Sainsbury’s made a ‘persuasive case’ for an increasing number of customers placing value on provenance and other ethical issues, the ASA had in its view followed the correct process.


Sainsbury's originally challenged Tesco in the ASA over the Price Promise scheme, in which Tesco matches products such as its Everyday Value Tea, which is not Fairtrade, with Sainsbury's basics tea, which is.


Other examples include our basics water, which comes from a spring in Yorkshire, filtered through mineral-rich Greenmoor rock but which Tesco compares with its Everyday Value water, which starts at the mains supply, just like the water in your tap.


In the judicial review, Sainsbury's will seek to have the ASA Council reconsider its original decision on the grounds that the test it applies does not take into consideration customers' desire to make fair comparisons based on all relevant product properties.


Sainsbury's will also question Tesco's policy of including only the product characteristics it sees fit to include in Price Match - factors that vary from line to line depending on what seems to suit Tesco best.


Sainsbury's Commercial Director Mike Coupe said: ‘It's time to take a stand on behalf of the huge majority or customers who want to be able to make fair comparisons when they shop. Tesco says that whether, for example, a product is Fairtrade or MSC certified is just a 'minor part' of a customer's considerations - especially for value products.


‘More than ever, customers want to be able to let their values guide them and in price-matching its products with ours Tesco is, when it sees fit, choosing to ignore factors such as ethical or provenance certification or even country of origin. We think that's wrong and we're pretty sure our customers do too.’

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