01 June 2000

Following the decision earlier this month by UK supermarket group Safeway to axe its ABC loyalty card scheme, complaints have arisen after market leader Tesco attempted to exploit the situation with an offer of its own Clubcard points to Safeway customers in return for their ABC card.

Tesco’s strategy has allegedly caused confusion and customer complaints after it refused to hand back the ABC card, especially as holders can still earn points from Safeway until the end of June. Says a Safeway spoke: "Some customers do not appear to be aware their cards are actually going to be taken away when they redeem their points for a Tesco Clubcard."

Unlike Tesco, rival supermarket chain J Sainsbury (which is running a similar ‘exchange’ offer) stresses on relevant promotional material that all ABC cards acquired will be returned to Safeway. But Tesco remains defiant: "We are not returning the cards to Safeway as we want to protect the identity of those who are defecting. However, it is not our policy to destroy them."

Safeway has written to Tesco attempting to clarify the issue, although this is probably motivated by allegations that some cards are being destroyed. Whilst admitting that it would like them returned to enable it to "close off" its database, Safeway denies it may take legal action to recover the cards.

News source: Precision Marketing (UK)