The supermarket says it is considering lodging a formal complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) because it claims the Price Promise does not correctly compare the price of Morrisons products.
Tesco Price Promise compares prices of items with its rivals but Morrisons says it has checked the comparisons and found Tesco is unable to make the comparisons on many occasions listing Morrisons’ prices as ‘unavailable’ because it can only check price manually in-stores.
Morrisons claims a basket of products is more expensive at Tesco when it includes items that it has not been able to compare.
It believes Tesco’s Price promise leads consumers to think it will always compensate them if they shop with Tesco, but Morrisons says shopping at its stores is cheaper.
Price comparisons with Asda and Sainsbury’s are made using the supermarket’s online grocery sites. Morrisons is the only major supermarket yet to launch a full online operation.
Crawford Davidson, customer director at Morrisons, says: “We are complaining because Tesco’s Price Promise provides a false assurance that it will compensate customers when Morrisons is cheaper, which it mostly is.
“Customers expect Tesco to do this properly. If Tesco can’t accurately collect prices of its rivals and make trustworthy comparisons, then it should not be making this so-called promise.”
Sainsbury’s CEO Justin King hit out at Tesco’s Price Promise last month, saying the supermarket was also considering making a complaint to the ASA over unfair and inaccurate price comparisons of own brand products.
A BBC You and Yours documentary in October 2012 also found discrepancies between the prices for Morrisons products quoted by Tesco for comparison.
The ASA is already investigating Tesco advertising for the Price Promise campaign following a complaint from Sainsbury’s over whether the ads are misleading because comparisons between own brand products are not possible and that the basis of the comparison has not been made clear to consumers.
Tesco, however, says it uses an independent agency to check prices and makes the basis of comparisons clear on its website. A spokesman says: “By making sure we give them back the difference if they could have got a better deal elsewhere, Price Promise gives our customers confidence that they won’t lose out by shopping at Tesco. We use an independent agency to check prices of branded and own label products at other retailers – online daily for Asda and Sainsbury’s, and since they don’t have an online grocery service, twice a week at Morrisons stores. The basis for our comparisons is made clear on the Price Promise website.”
* Updated with details of the formal investigation under way by the ASA following a complaint from Sainsbury’s and Tesco’s response.