Unacceptable substitutions at online supermarkets Tesco and Sainsbury's shoppers fare worse

30 September 2010

A couple reading a food label in a supermarket

A new Which? survey has found that one quarter of members who shopped at online supermarkets had received a substitution they felt was unacceptable.

One in five shoppers at Tesco.com and Sainsburys.co.uk told us they’d received an unacceptable substitution – the highest across all the online supermarkets. Waitrosedeliver.com fared the best – with less than one in ten customers saying they’d received an unacceptable substitution.

Supermarket substitutions

The survey of more than 500 Which? members who had shopped at online supermarkets in the past two years also found some substitutions that sounded just daft.

One Tesco.com shopper received a chocolate pudding instead of the black pudding they ordered, while a Sainsburys.co.uk customer received fondant icing instead of the icing sugar they’d ordered to make meringues. Another Sainsbury’s shopper ordered fresh lemons – and received Flash lemon cleaner.

Which? shopping expert Sarah Dennis says: ‘You have every right to send back a substitution if you think it’s unacceptable, at no cost to you. Check carefully on the supermarket’s website, though, to minimise this – Asda for example allows you to tick item by item if you’re willing to accept a substitution if what you want is not in stock.’

Have you had an unacceptable substitution from your online supermarket? What do you think of online grocery shopping?