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what is half price? Tesco fined for misleading consumers

23 August 2013

Tesco Stores Limited (‘Tesco’) has been prosecuted after admitting it misled customers over whether strawberries on sale were genuinely 'half price'.

The strawberries had been on sale at £3.99 for a week, then £2.99 for a week, then on ‘special offer’ of £1.99 for 14 weeks. Under the pricing practices guide, the length of the new lower price sale should not be longer than the old higher price was available for. Tesco pleaded guilty to 4 charges and was fined £300,000 and ordered to pay £65,000 in costs.

Of interest was the question of whether or not the prosecutor, Birmingham City Council, was entitled to prosecute in respect of offences occurring across the country. The Court held that it was, and so this judgement may pave the way for more headline national prosecutions of businesses on consumer issues.

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