Resolver guide – supermarket shopping during the pandemic
Problems with supermarket delivery slots have led to a big jump in complaints at Resolver. So, what are your rights?
The impact of the coronavirus/COVID 19 has turned everything upside down for many sectors, including supermarket deliveries. While you do have rights in some areas – like late or failed deliveries – we understand that the big problems, like getting hold of someone on the phone or finding a delivery slot, makes the whole process even more difficult.
So given that this is a bit of a step in to the unknown, here’s an overview of a few common complaints and what you can do to get help – and what’s the right thing to do too.
I can’t get a delivery slot
This is the biggie. So we have conflicting advice. The supermarkets are saying that you shouldn’t try to book a slot unless you are vulnerable or older. The Government advised people to do otherwise.
Realistically, if you’re well and not in a high-risk group, you should be masking up and going to the supermarket, respecting social distancing both in and outside of the store. We’ve done a bit of basic maths and it’s just not possible for every supermarket to provide even semi-regular delivery slots for everyone.
What if I’m ‘extremely vulnerable’ or older?
1.5 million people are on the Government list as ‘extremely vulnerable’ and are shielding for 12 weeks. Those people will have received a letter/email from the Government confirming this. If you think you should be on the list then register here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable
The Government has said that supermarkets should have access to the list and be able to prioritise slots for the people on it. However, in practice it would seem this is proving to be rather difficult.
If you are in this category, don’t give up, keep contacting the supermarket. Aim local if you can and ask a representative to speak to a manager in person if you’re struggling. Why not photo the Government letter to confirm your situation and ask if you can book a regular delivery slot?
We can all do our bit by not trying to book online deliveries so these are available to the people who need them the most.
What if I’m not on the list but still ‘at risk?’
Most supermarkets are running special morning slots for older people, usually from 9-10am. Check online first and find out how these are operating and take advantage of them.
Big queues are still an issue, but we’re hearing from people around the UK who are telling us that local shops and off licences have virtually no queues and a range of essential products in stock.
My delivery slot has been cancelled for no reason!
In the last week, we’ve seen a big influx of complaints around people who have deliveries booked only for them to be cancelled on the day of delivery.
After researching this in depth, the problem seems to be supermarkets not putting payments for processing until the delivery day and banks rejecting payments for unknown reasons.
We can’t say definitively, but it would seem that some banks are rejecting payments as part of their automated anti-fraud checks. Usually you’d get a call asking you to confirm that a payment is authorised, after which it is unfrozen. But for reasons unclear, this doesn’t seem to be happening.
There’s no way to avoid this happening definitively, but you could contact your bank and ask them to put a note on your account that a payment is due. This might not stop an automated check, but it could mean the payment could be authorised quicker when you call.
How can this problem be solved?
Ultimately, we need both supermarkets and banks to urgently address this.
Supermarkets need to process payments as soon as the order is made. This will give time to sort out bounced transactions. They could also allow bounced delivery payments to still go ahead. After all, they know where their customers live.
Banks need to investigate why these payments are being cancelled outright and introduce measures to ensure that they are processed as soon as the customer calls.
If orders are wrong, damaged or not delivered, you have the right to a refund. You should also get the delivery within 30 days unless you’ve agreed otherwise. Note that a business telling you that the delivery will be much later than this (probably) counts as ‘agreeing otherwise’ given the current pandemic.