Tesco has delayed changes to its Clubcard rewards scheme after a backlash from customers who objected to it reducing the value of vouchers without warning.
The UK’s largest retailer said on Wednesday it had listened to the feedback and would postpone the introduction of the changes until 10 June.
Tesco wrote to its millions of Clubcard customers this week to say it had “simplified” the scheme, with the changes taking effect from 15 January, to make it more straightforward. It said the revamped loyalty card would offer three times the value of their vouchers with more than 100 commercial partners as the standard redemption.
The retailer said it was ending those offering twice and four times the value, including some of the most popular and longstanding deals, such as meals at PizzaExpress, Prezzo and Zizzi.
The announcement was immediately met with criticism that customers would gain less from their points and that they had been given no notice about the changes. Tesco said any customers who had redeemed vouchers at three times the value “will not lose out” and should contact customer service.
At the announcement of its half-year results, Tesco said it had 16 million active Clubcard customers.
Anika Newjoto, editor of loyalty point specialist website Shopper Points, who was the first to draw attention to the changes, which Tesco had attempted to portray as neutral, said: “There was no excuse for making overnight changes to the value of Clubcard vouchers. This is especially true when the scheme encourages people to save them for the long term by giving a two-year expiry date.”
The founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, Martin Lewis, said: “Tesco has seriously misjudged the mood here, especially as by definition those hardest hit were its most loyal customers.”