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Sainsbury's 'technical error' leaves disgruntled supermarket shoppers without bonus Nectar points worth up to £25

Sainsbury's has promised to give shoppers who missed out on its in-store points promotion £5 in Nectar points. It comes after pushed the supermarket to ensure shoppers who met the minimum spend for Saturday's promotion didn't go empty-handed after a "technical error" meant vouchers weren't issued. We had threatened to report the supermarket if it didn't help shoppers.

Below we explain what's happened. For more information on how the Nectar points loyalty scheme works, see our How to boost your Nectar points guide.

What went wrong with Sainsbury's Nectar points promotion

Sainsbury's ran a promotion on Saturday 4 February that should have seen Nectar cardholders get a printed voucher of between 50 and 5,000 extra points – worth 25p to £25. The offer should have been available to everyone who spent at least £20 on qualifying items at a larger store (the offer wasn't available at any of Sainsbury's 800 Local outlets), and the voucher was redeemable on a future spend at the retailer.

We covered the offer on and in our weekly email as part of Sainsbury's nine-day 'Big Points Bonanza'. However, we were inundated with reports on the MSE Forum and on our social media channels from Sainsbury's shoppers disappointed that they weren't given a voucher, with little to no communication about what went wrong and how it was going to be fixed.

Affected customers will now get £5 in Nectar points

Sainsbury's initially told us on Monday 6 February that a "technical error" occurred on Saturday, which impacted "some customers". The supermarket added that it was "working to find a solution".

However, on Tuesday 7 February, Sainsbury's confirmed it would credit the accounts of all affected customers with 1,000 Nectar points, worth £5. We had told Sainsbury's we would report it to the Advertising Standards Authority and to Trading Standards for misleading shoppers unless it provided a solution for those left empty-handed.

Those affected don't need to do anything – Sainsbury's will apply the points to affected customers' accounts within seven to 10 days from today (Wednesday 8 February). It's 1,000 points per affected customer, regardless of how many qualifying transactions you may have made. Once points are in your account, they can be spent in the same way as all other Nectar points. We've seen that Sainsbury's has begun to email affected customers. 

If you think you're affected and don't receive an email, or you don't have any points credited, Nectar can be reached on 0344 811 0811 or through its website's live chat function, while Sainsbury's can be contacted on 0800 636 262 or through its website.

A Nectar spokesperson told us: "We are sorry for any disappointment caused by a technical error with our one-off Nectar promotion on Saturday. To be as fair as we can, we will be giving 1,000 Nectar points to every customer who qualified but didn't receive a bonus points coupon in store."

'Your stores appear to have been the winners, not the customer'

Some shoppers report that staff didn't know anything about Saturday's promotion when they questioned whether it was working in store, and others say there was no signage promoting the offer either.

Here's a selection of some of the complaints we'd seen about the promotion on Twitter:

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