Tesco Price Promise

British shoppers may not coupon quite the way we do in the United States, but their grocery stores sure know how to price match. Shoppers don’t even have to know how much anything is at another store – the store will do the price matching for them, and hand them a coupon off their next order representing the difference. Do that enough times, and savvy shoppers could make thousands – and some have.

Must be nice. Especially if you’ve ever tried to price match anything at Target.

The British supermarket chain Tesco today became the latest in the country to offer a price-matching program. Competitors already have similar offers, but Tesco’s is the first to cover both brand-name and private label products.

“Price Promise compares the overall cost of a basket of branded, own-label and fresh food groceries and matches the prices against the same or equivalent products from Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s,” Tesco says in a news release. “If the basket would have been cheaper elsewhere, a coupon for the difference in price, up to a maximum of £10, will be issued automatically to the customer” right at the cash register.


That’s a lot different from price-matching in the U.S., where the burden is on the customer to compare prices and ask the store to match the lowest one. Walmart and Target are the most prominent price-matchers in the U.S. grocery business, but Target says few people take advantage of its offer (read: “Target: Price Matching is Nice, Because No One Actually Does It”). That could be because it requires a trip to Guest Services, an extra step that many shoppers don’t want to bother with. Walmart’s program is easier, in that it doesn’t require you to bring an ad, and it matches the price right at the register.

But nothing compares to having the cashier simply hand you a coupon without even having to ask for it. It takes the work out of price matching – though some British shoppers who’ve been willing to put in the work have a whole lot of savings to show for it.

In September, some shoppers at Asda exploited loopholes in that store’s price match program, “rolling” their purchases and racking up thousands of dollars worth of coupons. Asda doesn’t price match at the register – shoppers have to go to the store’s website and input their receipt details. Then the store compares prices with its competitors, and if they have lower prices, it issues a coupon for the difference, plus an additional 10%.

So some shoppers began scouring competitors’ websites and identifying the items that were cheaper, then purposely buying as many of them at Asda as they could. Moreover, an accounting and computer glitch reduced some competitors’ prices on certain products to nearly nothing – meaning some shoppers got virtually the full value of the item, plus an additional 10%, back. “I’ve made £8,670 from Asda in four weeks,” one message board participant bragged.

Asda responded by capping the value of price-match coupons at £15 per transaction – which minimizes, but doesn’t eliminate, the risk of handing out lots of cash-off coupons to determined shoppers willing to do multiple transactions.

That being the case, maybe Walmart and Target have the right idea after all. Price matching is nice, they figure – just as long as it’s not too easy.

One Comment

  1. I love those last couple of sentences. LOL

    I totally agree ‘no too easy’ that and the cashiers pretending to have never heard of the program.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Privacy Policy
Disclosure Policy