Tesco Ireland - Criticisms


Tesco Ireland is the largest food retailer in Ireland, and has over 13,500 employees. As of 2009, Tesco Ireland has come in for increased criticism for apparently high prices in its Irish stores, because the benefits of the recent devaluation of the pound sterling has not been passed on to the customers, although in its favour this seems to be because comparisons are with the British Tesco stores rather than other Irish retailers - and thus like is not being compared with like. However, there have been general criticisms of the similar pricing between Irish supermarkets, and economic reports noting the high prices in Ireland generally. Research from Forfas, concluded that only a five per cent difference in the cost of goods between North and South was justifiable.

Despite claims from Tesco that they have matched prices in the Republic of Ireland with prices in Northern Ireland, a November 2009 survey by Consumers Choice magazine has claimed that, on average, prices are still 18% more expensive in the Republic

Tesco Ireland was one of seven shops fined for failing to display prices properly by the National Consumer Agency in July 2008.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland, has on a number of occasions ordered the recall of Tesco branded products, including a case of glass contamination. Environmental Health Officers served a closure order on Tesco's store in Prussia Street, Dublin, the day after they inspected it, for a number of breaches of Food Hygiene Regulations. Most food is imported from Britain, where the BBC's Whistleblower programme showed undercover footage showing the sale of products after their sell-by date; allegations that the company illegally sold 'back-labelled' products after their use by date; falsification of temperature records; and the sale of partially cooked mince mixed with uncooked mince.

Tesco apologised for selling anti Jewish literature to customers in Ireland. Sheikh Dr Shaheed Satardien, head of the Muslim Council of Ireland, said this was effectively "polluting the minds of impressionable young people with hate and anger towards the Jewish community".

The supermarket refused to stock any of the one million postcards which are aimed at closing the controversial plant at Sellafield in Cumbria. Dunnes Stores and Superquinn, along with other retailers across the country, did sell the postcards.

The Irish Advertising Standards Authority in January 2009 found that Tesco Ireland advertising was misleading.

Tesco tried to hide its policy of buying directly from UK suppliers from Irish people. An internal document said that ensuring its policy of taking deliveries directly from UK suppliers went unnoticed and "invisible to the Irish customer" was a key objective. At the same time the Irish Farmers' Association president said there was deep anger about Tesco's decision to displace local produce with imports "will inevitably lead to thousands of job losses and will put Irish producers of local, fresh produce out of business,"

Tesco Ireland's head office in Dún Laoghaire is being “transformed” into a country office by redeploying roles to the UK and outsourcing work to India.

Tesco used "Change for Good" as advertising, which is trade marked by Unicef for charity usage but is not trademarked for commercial or retail use which prompted the agency to say "it is the first time in Unicef's history that a commercial entity has purposely set out to capitalise on one of our campaigns and subsequently damage an income stream which several of our programmes for children are dependent on". They went on to call on the public "who have children’s welfare at heart, to consider carefully who they support when making consumer choices".

Large supermarket chains were accused by Fine Gael of putting up to 100,000 Irish jobs at risk by forcing suppliers to pay €160 million a year in "hello money".

The company was accused of sharp practice in December 2009 by forcing motorists to pay a carbon tax six hours before it became law.

The company was the subject of claims in February 2010 of demanding up to €500,000 per supplier for stocking goods. The leader of the Labour Party described the practice as "outrageous extortion" and was "like the kind of thing you expect to see in the Sopranos."

Britain's Advertising Standards Authority said a leaflet produced by Tesco Ireland Ltd, was ‘‘irresponsible’’ and breached clauses in the advertising code on substantiation and weight control in May 2010.

Tesco pleaded guilty and was fined, after sending unsolicited marketing emails to a number of customers and for having a problem with the email "opt-out" option.

In early 2011, Tesco warned Irish publishers that it will ban their books from the shelves of the supermarket if they do not play by its rules. The bestseller, which sparked the controversy over the revelation about Sean FitzPatrick's golf meeting with Taoiseach Brian Cowen, was published in secret and distributed directly to Easons and selected bookstores -- but not to Tesco or other supermarkets. The secret last-minute delivery was organised to avoid any legal complications that might have prevented publication. Tesco said "if we find evidence of this happening (again), the offending publisher will have all their titles removed from sale and returned". One publisher pointed out that Tesco sometimes implements exclusive deals itself.

Tesco increased the prices of some well-known products significantly just weeks into 2011 before reducing them as part of a 1,000-product price promotion launched in March 2011.

Tesco was convicted of a breach of consumer law for not displaying the right price of goods in October 2011.

In January 2012, a Tesco employee was awarded damages at the Employment Appeals Tribunal who had been dismissed after contracting the HIV virus.

In May 2012, it pleaded guilty to selling "gone off" meat and the next month was prosecuted and fined for breaches of consumer law.

In June 2012, Eurostat blamed "overly dominant supermarkets" as a factor why Ireland is the fifth dearest nation in the EU. Tesco is the market leader with 28% share of the grocery market.

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