Tesco apologises as children go hungry due to ‘delayed payments’
Store manager 'in hiding' after dozens of complaints from parents
16 February, 2018 — By Tom Foot
The Tesco store in Lupus Street
CHILDREN went hungry this week after Tesco withdrew funds from the accounts of dozens of struggling families “without warning”.
Parents in Pimlico say had their food budgets decimated after the chain’s Express branch in Lupus Street took sums of up £60 from them.
Tesco blame gremlins in its card payments system for failing to process the transactions it claims were originally made at the store around three months ago. But for many families – who have launched officials complaint through Citizens Advice – the “unexpected transactions” have taken away all their disposable income for the week. Some have been reduced to borrowing money from neighbours to feed their children. Many will receive bank charges for going over their overdrafts.
Art teacher Jaleh Elsey, who lives in Churchill Gardens estate, said: “We are not rich people here and all my neighbours are affected by it. A lot of mothers I know, it is their food money gone. Many have only 30 or 40 pounds for their children for the week. But where are they going to find £40 for their kids? I cannot see people going hungry in my area. We are trying to find them something so they can feed the kids.”
She added: “I found out when I went to buy food for my kids and they said there was no money in the account. I rang the bank and they said Tesco had taken it. Tesco said I did the transactions in December or November. I said ‘show me the receipt, then’, but they can’t.”
Ms Elsey said she has been to the bank and can prove that the transactions she made in December went through.
She says the manager of the store has gone into “hiding” after complaints.
Ms Elsey added: “He won’t come to see us. This is our local shop but we want clean businesses here in Lupus Street.”
Tesco pleaded with irate customers to contact their customer service department rather than taking it up with store staff.
The glitch has affected an estimated 300 “Express” stores nationally and the company claims it has tried to contact customers but was unable to reach them all.
An email sent out to customers said: “We are writing to let you know that a number of credit and debit card payments did not process correctly for some customers, in a small number of our Express stores.
“You may have noticed this as an unexpected transaction at Tesco in your bank statement. You were accidentally not charged on a recent visit and this is a delayed payment. Rest assured, you will not have paid twice.”
Tesco’s chief customer officer, Alessandra Bellini, is writing to affected customers to explain the error and say “sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused”.
A Tesco statement said: “As soon as we identified this issue, we contacted as many affected customers as possible and have now processed all incomplete transactions. The issue has now been resolved and we are sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.”