Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s delivers a refund – ten months too late after ignoring 87-year-old customer: TONY HETHERINGTON investigates
Tony Hetherington is Financial Mail on Sunday’s ace investigator, fighting readers corners, revealing the truth that lies behind closed doors and winning victories for those who have been left out-of-pocket. Find out how to contact him below.
Ms E.N. writes: I am requesting your help in recovering payment taken from my credit card by Sainsbury’s for an order that was never delivered.
I have written to the chief executive but this clearly has not worked.
My letters remain unanswered.
Sent astray: Sainsbury’s told the 87-year-old to go and pick up the food herself
Tony Hetherington replies: This is a classic example of how a huge company can turn an everyday problem into a minor scandal, simply by treating a customer badly and then by treating them even worse.
You are 87 years old and pretty much housebound. You ordered a delivery of groceries costing £97 from Sainsbury’s in Frome, Somerset, which was due to arrive at your home on April 23 last year.
The delivery did not arrive, and you were told the van had broken down. You were asked to collect the shopping in person, but there was no way you could do this.
You were then told that your only option was to cancel the order and submit a new one. You did this, and the delivery was made on April 25, with Sainsbury’s collecting £105 from your card. You were told in an email that you would not be charged for the first, undelivered order, but when your card statement arrived you found that Sainsbury’s had taken both the £97 and the £105.
This should have been sorted out with one phone call, but the Frome store told you that the company has no complaints procedure and no address to which any complaint could be sent. Staff there told you that if you wanted to press the matter, you would have to go to the store and show the manager all your credit card statements from April onwards, to prove that you had been charged and never refunded. You twice wrote to Simon Roberts, the chief executive of Sainsbury’s, but he did not reply.
All this has dragged on for months, but after I contacted officials at the supermarket’s head office last month they sorted it out within 48 hours, showing what could and should have been done in the first place.
One told me: ‘We should have identified there was an issue with the store processing a refund for the original, cancelled order and this should have gone through back in April.’
That should have been the end of the story. It wasn’t. You were given a number to call to claim your £97 refund, but when you called, you were told it was not possible now to claim a refund from as far back as April. When you explained everything that had happened, you were offered £50.
After you resisted and the speaker transferred you to a colleague, you were finally told the full £97 would be credited back to your card. Sainsbury’s has also credited £30 to your online shopping account, which does not seem a lot to make up for ten months of stress and struggling with one of the biggest companies in the country. And it could all have been avoided as long ago as April.
Don’t bet on seeing cash handed to gambling firm
K.B. writes: I had a contract with Apex Algorithms for money I invested with it. Everything was fine and my account manager updated me weekly with performance details.
Then, all of a sudden, one of the managers or directors called me and explained that accounts had been frozen and were being investigated.
Since then, I have not heard anything. Do you have any update as I would like my money returned?
Dodgy: Salesman Nathan Burgoyne
Tony Hetherington replies: The company’s proper name is Apex Incorporated Ltd, and it is based in Sandwich, Kent. It has offered two quite different investment schemes, both completely dodgy.
I warned in 2018 that Apex was selling ‘loan bonds’ – IOUs – which promised to pay 16 per cent interest. Its advertisements claimed a seven-year track record of success, but the company had only been in existence for four years, with no confirmed figures to back up its claims. And its bonds were not secured against any property; if Apex itself failed, investors lost their money.
Apex then stopped selling bonds and instead marketed itself as a gambling company that made profits by betting investors’ money on football matches. It claimed to make ‘consistent double-digit yields’, and advertised that the company was established by ex-City figures. The truth is that it is owned by Nathan Burgoyne. There is no record of him ever having been a financial adviser, though his brother Daniel did sell carbon credits as investments, for which he was jailed for two years.
And when Nathan was in court in 2015 for driving offences after knocking down a pedestrian and killing his dog, he described himself as a salesman, not an investment manager.
The only Apex update I can give you is that Kent Police have been carrying out a very thorough investigation. They have frozen about £2million in the bank, but that leaves more than £1.8million of investors’ money unaccounted for, with nothing to show that bets were ever placed with the missing cash.
Officers have been compiling evidence for the Crown Prosecution Service, but nobody has yet been charged with any offence.
If you believe you are the victim of financial wrongdoing, write to Tony Hetherington at Financial Mail, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TS or email [email protected] Because of the high volume of enquiries, personal replies cannot be given. Please send only copies of original documents, which we regret cannot be returned.