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Sainsbury's new Nectar offer 'discriminates against the elderly and the vulnerable', says 75-year-old shopper

A 75-year-old Sainsbury's customer has complained to the supermarket giant after it prevented shoppers from accessing savings online with its new Nectar scheme. The shopper told that he believes the move is "discriminatory" towards the elderly, disabled and vulnerable - particularly when some may still feel uncomfortable shopping in stores due to Covid-19.

Malcolm Haddon, a Nectar card customer, lodged the complaint after realising he would not be able to take advantage of the benefits of a revamp to the supermarket's loyalty card scheme, which Sainsbury's claims could save customers up to £200/yr. Under the 'My Nectar Prices' scheme, which launched in September, shoppers are sent discounts of up to 30% when they use Sainsbury's SmartShop app or scanner in store. 

But Malcolm is angry that the price cuts are not available online. He told us that the after effects of various illnesses, including TB and pneumonia, leave him struggling to breathe, even after walking just short distances. This, he said, makes it impossible for him to visit and walk around his closest supermarket. Malcolm said: “I feel cheated and discriminated against as I find in-store shopping quite difficult.”

Malcolm's wife also has acute rheumatoid arthritis making walking difficult. During the lockdown their daughter would help with the weekly shop by leaving groceries at their door.

'Because of my disability I feel I am being discriminated against'

Here is Malcom's letter to Sainsbury's, which he sent on 4 October:

Mr Haddon said that he hopes Sainsbury's will reconsider making the SmartShop offers available to those who place orders online. He said many of the items SmartShop offers discounts on were goods he purchases on a weekly basis and so felt he was losing out significantly. This includes the price of unsmoked dry cured bacon, which usually costs £2.75, but is discounted to £2.01 via SmartShop.

“I feel I am missing out on a huge saving, which, as a pensioner, is important to me," said Mr Haddon. My weekly shop is not huge – usually around £60, but I tend to only buy what is needed for the two of us.”

Following a campaign by founder Martin Lewis, Sainsbury's last year agreed to allow 'clinically extremely vulnerable' customers – who had been told to limit contact during lockdown – to swap back any Nectar points already exchanged for 'double-up' vouchers if they were unable to go into a store to redeem them. They were also able to keep hold of the doubled points value to spend another time.

If you shop with Sainsbury's, see our Loyalty Points Boosting guide for more info on how Nectar works - as well as for info on other supermarket loyalty schemes. 

What does Sainsbury's say?

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson told MSE: “My Nectar Prices gives customers access to lower prices and personalised offers year-round through the Nectar app when they shop with us in store, using our SmartShop service.

"Many of our customers are already making great savings but we understand some customers are disappointed that My Nectar Prices is not more widely available. It’s still very early days for this offer and we hope to bring our tailored discounts to more people in more places in the future.”

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