Tesco to ‘robustly defend’ price match scheme after Sainsbury’s wins judicial review

Tesco says it will ‘robustly defend’ its price match scheme after Sainsbury’s won the right to a judicial review in its legal battle with Tesco over an ad campaign for its Price Promise scheme that Sainsbury’s has labelled ‘misleading’.

sainsburys-values-egg-2014-460
Sainsbury’s ups war with Tesco over value in ad campaign for its Basics range.

The legal bid comes after the Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA) decision in July 2013 to reject Sainsbury’s complaint about Tesco’s Price Promise scheme, which unlike Sainsbury’s Brand Match compares own brand product if an equivalent is sold by a rival. Sainsbury’s argues that Tesco’s scheme is misleading and compares “apples with pears” because it fails to take into account “all relevant factors” including relative ethics, provenance and price.

Following a review of the evidence, the High Court has ruled that it is “sufficiently arguable that there was an error of law in the ASA’s approach to the matching of items for comparison, which error the Reviewer failed to identify”.

There will be a formal hearing in around six months’ time.

Sainsbury’s commercial director Mike Coupe says: “We do not believe it is fair to compare own-label products of different supermarkets.

“Values are fundamental to the way we do business and drive everything we do. We know these values matter to our customers and we will do everything in our power to ensure they can make informed choices about what they buy.”

However, Tesco believes its comparisons are “fair”.

A spokesperson says: “We know how much customers appreciate the confidence Price Promise gives them when they shop at Tesco.  Now that permission for the Judicial Review has been granted, we will robustly defend the way we make fair comparisons between products based on what matters to customers, which has already been approved by the ASA and the Independent Reviewer.”

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