M&S out of date meat displayed and sold

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Being classed as clinically extremely vulnerable we rarely venture out but went to M@S to get some Christmas treats, which included a small fillet steak (prepacked). the place was absolutely heaving so we got in and out s quickly as possible

When we got home and unpacked we noticed that the steak had a USE by date for the previous day. Since we were planning to keep it for 3 days before use we checked and found that it should not be used after the use by date

No way of phoning the store and not wishing to make the arduous trip back we phoned their complaints line and were told to take it back. Explained that we had no wish to do that and asked for a refund/credit note. Not possible, they said, we had to go back to the store - and it was 'up to the customer to check the dates'!!
Unhappy with that response I emailed customer services and told them, providing pics of the meat, the label and the and requested a refund/credit note

Same result, go back to the store, there was nothing they could do

I have just written back pointing out that they have all the evidence, that I have no intention of wasting time and fuel on a trip when a perfectly reasonable remedy could be achieved with a credit note 

A tad peeved by this time I stated that if I did not get a satisfactory response within 2 days I would make a complaint to the Trading Standards. They either don't know or don't care about the difference between a best by and a use by label
 Quote:-

Foods marked with a use-by date must not be sold or displayed for sale after their marked dates. It is an offence to sell or offer for sale food past its use-by date. For example, 'Use by 23 January' means use by the end of the day on 23 January; an offence has been committed if the product is still on display on 24 January.

I wouldn't have thought they they would risk a prosecution over something as simple as this

I wouldn't normally bother, but their attitude stinks.  That meat must have been there for some time to exceed it's use by date, The law is quite clear, they should not display or sell such items

A simple apology and replacement/credit would have kept everyone (fairly) happy if a little hungry  :p
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Comments

  • sheramber
    sheramber Posts: 19,353 Forumite
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    I am sure M7S are well aware of the food regulations.

    Mistakes happen. The pack may have been  at the back of the shelf. Someone   may  have put it to the back of the shelf as they  looked for a longer date  and it was missed when the assistant  checked the shelf. 

     It seems quite reasonable me that you return the product to the store where it was bought. 

    Most of M&S products are short dated to protect the  quality .  So if I want to keep something to a future date I make sure the use by date is sufficient.

     
  • greyteam1959
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    M&S should install the same systems that Aldi & Lidl use.
    Produce past it's Use By date is flagged up at the checkout & will not be sold to you.

  • MalMonroe
    MalMonroe Posts: 5,783 Forumite
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    Whilst I agree that accidents do happen, I'm fairly appalled by the attitude of M&S as well as some responders here.

    The label said the meat had expired the day before - that IS very negligent of M&S (where I shop a lot so I'm not very impressed).

    OP - I do agree with you that at the very least, M&S staff could have apologised for the oversight. Yes, everyone makes mistakes but not everyone sells out of date food. 

    It is illegal for any shop to sell out of date food and you CAN actually complain about this to Trading Standards, you just have to do it via Citizens Advice, which isn't a bad thing, see this link -

    https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/get-more-help/report-to-trading-standards/

    I would do that. But before I did I'd phone M&S complaints again, ask to speak to a senior member of staff and advise them that you are not just being awkward, it's not legal to sell food that expired the day before in this country and that you WILL be chasing this matter if they are unwilling or unable to help you.  

    If you are unable to go back to the store, and as a vulnerable person myself I don't find that weird, then they could easily post you a gift card or refund you via the internet. It's not as if you're even asking for compensation, just for your money back. 
    Please note - taken from the Forum Rules and amended for my own personal use (with thanks) : It is up to you to investigate, check, double-check and check yet again before you make any decisions or take any action based on any information you glean from any of my posts. Although I do carry out careful research before posting and never intend to mislead or supply out-of-date or incorrect information, please do not rely 100% on what you are reading. Verify everything in order to protect yourself as you are responsible for any action you consequently take.
  • misimp
    misimp Posts: 51 Forumite
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    Yep. I agree with most of your comments
    I am probably the most easy going of consumers. I am one of those rare people who remedies mistakes made by traders in my favour - returning excess change, undercharging etc.

    Perhaps unreasonably, I expect the same from them when it's the other way round

    In this case there are several reasons why I am annoyed

    1)In the present covid climate, being cev I am reluctant to expose myself unneccessarily in a busy retail store

    2)It would not be a quick in and out. Someone would have to be found who could authorise the refund/exchange. Th sheer volume of shoppers at this time teds to make me thinik that it could be a long job - and it looks as though I would probably be told it's my repsonsibility to check, not to foolishly think that just because it is illegal to sell o-o-d goods that I could trust M&sS not to do so, therefore it is MY fault

    3)Apart from the inconvenience, it would cost in the region of £8 in fuel for the return journey

    4)I understand and accept the reasons this may have happened. I am not seeking any gain from it, simply a refund/exchange

    5)At the end of the day they have broken the law, however unintentionally. It doesn't allow excuses, the offence is complete by simply having the o-o-d goods on display and is compounded when they sell them

    6)Use by and best by dates are very different animals, best by is to promote the use of goods whilst at their best. Use by is a health and safety safeguard. They should be USED on or BEFORE that date, hence the stipulation that they should not even be OFFERED for sale. I don't make the law. The dates are there for a reason

    7) I excercised my ability to post my gripe under the 'vent' section of the forum to make me feel a bit less badly done by :)




  • MalMonroe
    MalMonroe Posts: 5,783 Forumite
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    misimp said:
    Being classed as clinically extremely vulnerable we rarely venture out but went to M@S to get some Christmas treats, which included a small fillet steak (prepacked). the place was absolutely heaving so we got in and out s quickly as possible

    When we got home and unpacked we noticed that the steak had a USE by date for the previous day. Since we were planning to keep it for 3 days before use we checked and found that it should not be used after the use by date

    No way of phoning the store and not wishing to make the arduous trip back we phoned their complaints line and were told to take it back. Explained that we had no wish to do that and asked for a refund/credit note. Not possible, they said, we had to go back to the store - and it was 'up to the customer to check the dates'!!
    Unhappy with that response I emailed customer services and told them, providing pics of the meat, the label and the and requested a refund/credit note

    Same result, go back to the store, there was nothing they could do

    I have just written back pointing out that they have all the evidence, that I have no intention of wasting time and fuel on a trip when a perfectly reasonable remedy could be achieved with a credit note 

    A tad peeved by this time I stated that if I did not get a satisfactory response within 2 days I would make a complaint to the Trading Standards. They either don't know or don't care about the difference between a best by and a use by label
     Quote:-

    Foods marked with a use-by date must not be sold or displayed for sale after their marked dates. It is an offence to sell or offer for sale food past its use-by date. For example, 'Use by 23 January' means use by the end of the day on 23 January; an offence has been committed if the product is still on display on 24 January.

    I wouldn't have thought they they would risk a prosecution over something as simple as this

    I wouldn't normally bother, but their attitude stinks.  That meat must have been there for some time to exceed it's use by date, The law is quite clear, they should not display or sell such items

    A simple apology and replacement/credit would have kept everyone (fairly) happy if a little hungry  :p
    A mistake has been made. Taking the item back to store seems a fair approach from M&S. Otherwise everyone would be taking photos, getting credit notes/refunds and then eating the goods.
    You also can't contact Trading Standards direct.

    A mistake may have been made but the fact remains that it's illegal in this country to sell out of date food. And more people should report this 'mistake' when it happens to them. Trading Standards can be accessed via Citizens Advice and anyone can contact CA. 

    Also, if you have food delivered to your home (we have Sainsbury's every week) and it's out of date and you phone to complain, you usually DO get your money back. With or without photos. Or is that just me? It's not a question of whether it's been photographed or not, it's whether or not the food is considered to be fit for humans to eat. 
    Please note - taken from the Forum Rules and amended for my own personal use (with thanks) : It is up to you to investigate, check, double-check and check yet again before you make any decisions or take any action based on any information you glean from any of my posts. Although I do carry out careful research before posting and never intend to mislead or supply out-of-date or incorrect information, please do not rely 100% on what you are reading. Verify everything in order to protect yourself as you are responsible for any action you consequently take.
  • misimp
    misimp Posts: 51 Forumite
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    M&S should install the same systems that Aldi & Lidl use.
    Produce past it's Use By date is flagged up at the checkout & will not be sold to you.


    True, I would have thought that it would be relatively simple to set up such a system, and in their own interests if it reduces the possibility of being prosecuted...although it wouldn't help with it being 'offered for sale' on the shelves

    It is common for goods NEARING their SELL BY date to be reduced in price, but once it reaches to USE BY date it must be removed
  • misimp
    misimp Posts: 51 Forumite
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    MalMonroe said:
    Whilst I agree that accidents do happen, I'm fairly appalled by the attitude of M&S as well as some responders here.

    The label said the meat had expired the day before - that IS very negligent of M&S (where I shop a lot so I'm not very impressed).

    OP - I do agree with you that at the very least, M&S staff could have apologised for the oversight. Yes, everyone makes mistakes but not everyone sells out of date food. 

    It is illegal for any shop to sell out of date food and you CAN actually complain about this to Trading Standards, you just have to do it via Citizens Advice, which isn't a bad thing, see this link -

    https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/get-more-help/report-to-trading-standards/

    I would do that. But before I did I'd phone M&S complaints again, ask to speak to a senior member of staff and advise them that you are not just being awkward, it's not legal to sell food that expired the day before in this country and that you WILL be chasing this matter if they are unwilling or unable to help you.  

    If you are unable to go back to the store, and as a vulnerable person myself I don't find that weird, then they could easily post you a gift card or refund you via the internet. It's not as if you're even asking for compensation, just for your money back. 
    Thanks Mal, I was beginning to think I had turned into one of those folks that go looking for trouble

    I did suggest that they contact the store to make sure that the rest of them were not also out of date but they they said that was up to the store!!

    If they do a refund or replacement  problem solved

    I didn't like having to quote the law to them, it felt a wee bit like blackmail

    Hopefully it will get sorted




  • Ms_Chocaholic
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    How about taking to twitter with the photo of the steak and receipt as that sometimes gets more / better results.
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