Sainsbury's has outrageously reneged on its £2.60 prosecco trick, as large swathes of customers who'd taken up the online offer but not yet had it delivered won't get the discounted price.

Under the deal customers could have combined three elements to nab six bottles of prosecco for £2.60 instead of the usual £10 a bottle. See full info in the £2.60 prosecco trick blog.

  • A reduced Taste The Difference prosecco offer, from £10 to £7.50 a bottle. This is the element it's changing by reverting to the £10 price on Wednesday, killing the deal for new customers too.
  • 25% off six bottles of wine.
  • An £18 off £60 code for new online customers.

How the saga unfolded

The debacle came to light on Tuesday night at about 9pm when Sainsbury's sent emails informing customers it was upping the cost of prosecco from the pre-agreed price. It emerged on Wednesday afternoon only those with deliveries on Wednesday got the email.

Following our pressure on Sainsbury's to honour the offer, this group will now get the deal on its Taste The Difference prosecco after a backtrack from the giant. They will also get e-vouchers, likely to amount to £11ish if you ordered six bottles, which is the difference had it not honoured the promo.

Frustratingly, anyone else who didn't get the email - whose fizz is due at a later date - will lose the deal. Sainsbury's claims it is making up for the loss with e-vouchers to the same value as above. However, you'd need to make a second shop to use them, which isn't good enough.

Sainsbury's won't say how many people are still awaiting their prosecco. Sainsbury's tells us you can at least reject the prosecco when it comes and still claim the vouchers, though you can't then use the £18 off £60 code if your order dips below £60.

That said, you'll only get the prosecco if there's stock available locally on the delivery date, which is standard for any supermarket online shopping purchase. It admits it's running "critically low" on Taste The Difference prosecco.

Sainsbury's says the reason it's upped the pre-agreed price for those without their order is because it charges online customers the store price on the day of delivery and it doesn't want to discriminate between the two.

Update, 1 June, 6pm. It has taken most of today to get key info from Sainsbury's, so this story has evolved. This is today's timeline.

  • 00.20am After first publishing this news story at 11.45pm on Tuesday, we emailed Sainsbury's expressing our outrage, demanding it fulfills the offer for anyone who's placed an order at the agreed price and asking for more of the finer details.
  • 11am. Sainsbury's told us "anyone who received last night’s email will receive the £7.50 offer, plus an e-voucher for £2.50, which they can spend on their next shop at Sainsbury's." At that stage it wasn't clear whether that meant all customers who'd placed an order but not had it delivered got the email or what exactly they'd get in vouchers
  • 2pm. After much back-and-forth between us and Sainsbury's given its subsequent communications were unclear, it said only those who got an email on Tuesday night will have the offer reinstated, as above.
  • 5pm. Sainsbury's finally told us which customers got the email on Tuesday and explained its rationale. We still have some outstanding questions we've put to it as you'll see later in this article.

MoneySavers are up in arms over the backtracking but it was all going so well until Tuesday evening as we were inundated with success stories for the deal such as:

Following on from our intervention on Wednesday morning, some people did receive their order at the pre-agreed price on Wednesday afternoon, including Alec, who told us:

Sainsbury's rationale for the U-turn

A Sainsbury's spokesman says: "Due to limited availability, that varies from store to store, we have reluctantly returned the unit price to £10. 

"Otherwise our stores would effectively be promoting an offer that was unavailable to customers. We hate to disappoint customers but we have ensured that all those who placed orders will receive a voucher for the difference as a gesture of goodwill and by way of apology."

We asked Sainsbury's last week and again on Tuesday whether it had enough stock to fulfill the deal for our weekly email this week.

While it admitted stock was running low, it confirmed the deal was still live and made no mention of its U-turn (we were going to repeat it in this week's Martin's Money Tips Email as it was so popular, but had to withdraw it at the last minute).

What if I cancelled my order having got an email on Tuesday night. Can I still get the deal?

The Taste The Difference prosecco is no longer available, so you won't be able to get this well-rated prosecco for £2.60 via the trick. However, as long as you cancelled by 11pm on the night before delivery, you'll count as a new customer, so could get a cheaper prosecco for £2.06 a bottle via the same trick. Full info in our prosecco trick blog.

If I cancelled my order will I still be eligible for 'new customer offers' in future?

Sainsbury's says as long as the order is cancelled before delivery, you will be able to claim any new customer deals in the future.  

What the Tuesday night email said

Just before 9pm on Tuesday night, reports started to flood in of the email from Sainsbury's which many of its customers who'd ordered the deal - but not yet had it delivered - got. It said:

"Due to unprecedented demand the Taste The Difference Prosecco you ordered is no longer available on the promotion price of £7.50.

"This means you will be charged the full price of £10 minus any discount that might apply, for example buy 6 bottles of wine and save 25%.

"We'd still like to honour the offer, we have therefore added the price difference as an e-voucher to your account for the next time you shop online."

'I ordered last week, now they've changed the price'

The following tweets gives a flavour of how its customers who got the email on Tuesday night felt (responding to Martin's tweet about the issue): founder and chair Martin Lewis says "This is a very poor way to handle a promotion, and rightly people are annoyed.

"My editorial team were in regular conversations with Sainsbury's throughout this deal to ensure it worked and had stock, and we have an email trail to show it. It's let us and a lot of people down."