To Whom It May Concern,

Yesterday (13th June 2011) I bought a lighter from the Tooting branch of tesco on Mitcham Road. I go in the tesco’s almost every day to pick up a few bits and I know and am on good terms with most of the staff there, always saying hi to them. Never had any problem there before, and the staff were always polite to me.

The lighter was faulty from the first try. Today I took the lighter back – a bit annoyed that I had to use the toaster as a lighter the previous evening! I didn’t go with the receipt and wasn’t too bothered about that because 1) the lighter is only worth a quid and I only bought it the previous day 2) I was hoping to see the woman who sold me the lighter, who I am on good terms with and always enquires to my health. She is usually there most days.

There were only two guys in the shop when I got there, one of them I knew and said hi to as I walked in. I got a few shopping bits and then went to the counter. The person on the till was a guy called ‘Roberto’ a short, stocky Asian guy who I hadn’t noticed there before. I tell him about the lighter and ask for another one that works. I didn’t particularly want the same one again after its failure, but I couldn’t be bothered to argue. At this point the guy starts looking and talking to me like I am a criminal. He looks at the lighter suspiciously (!) turning it around in his hands to check its authenticity. He tries the lighter, sees that it doesn’t work. He considers changing it for a while, looks at me suspiciously and then asks for the receipt. ‘no receipt’ I say, at this point getting a little put out that he is treating me like a criminal for returning a lighter worth a quid. So he says ‘I cant exchange this without a receipt’ looking bizarrely a little pleased with himself. I say ‘OK I’m not leaving till this lighter is changed, I’d like to see the manager please’ – he says ‘I am the manager’, this time smiling and looking pleased that he has won against this suspicious guy who is trying to con him out of a lighter (!)

As a side note, I’m just wondering who goes into a shop to con them out of a lighter? He must of noticed that the lighter is one of those vertical pulling ones and that they are the only ones that tesco sells. The other thing you would expect is some kind of apology for selling me something that doesn’t work, and perhaps some alternatives for how to prove that I bought it there, like perhaps showing them my bank statements which show tesco charges almost every day and show that it is one of three shops I use in Tooting.

‘I have never even seen you in this shop before, I find it difficult to believe you are the manager, I come in here almost every day’ I say – I walk off and try to find someone who I know, and who knows I come in every day there, hoping this will convince him I’m not a liar or a thief. I walk around the shop and the guy I know has disappeared so I walk back to the guy, pretty annoyed he is not only wasting my time but calling me a liar after ripping me off! I go back to the counter and try to ask where the woman is that sold me the lighter – I describe her and he says ‘there is no woman here like that and you are not returning the lighter’ his tone is getting more dismissive, rude and now aggressive and he obviously views me as a thief and liar to which I say ‘oh you will be replacing this lighter’ – the conversation escalates until eventually pushed over the edge by his blatant insults I tell him ‘fuck you’, words i feel completely justified in using in this situation. I suppose one could argue that the guy did not actually swear at me first, but his aggressive and extremely rude behaviour was worse than swearing at me, it was a schnidey attempt to be an idiot just for the sake of it. Whether swearing is involved or not, this is still not an excuse to physically touch a person as far as I am aware and I made no violent threats towards the man, I simply wanted the faulty product that I was sold replaced.

The guy then tells me I’m banned from the shop and comes marching out from behind the counter looking like he’s going to kill me. he immediately physically assaults me, pushing me violently across the floor, pushing his whole body against me and then proceeds to push me out of the shop, violently. This is presumably all visible from the CCTV in tesco, you will clearly be able to see the man come from behind the till and assault me twice. I tell him he has just assaulted me which he could be arrested for. he takes no heed and continues assaulting me, pushing me across the shop. when he gets to the door he kicks me! At this point I can take no more, the kick being the last violent straw. I kick him back in self defence. he then starts punching my face, pulls my coat, rips my hat off my head and punches and kicks me a few times before I can run away. I suffered a cut on my lip, a scratch across my face and my teeth were bleeding. Plus: I didn’t get my lighter replaced.

The lesson I’ve learnt here is that tesco is allowed to sell you something not fit for purpose, the managers are allowed to be rude and violent to you, and treat you as a liar and thief if you dare to complain. ill remember this in future. thanks tesco and roberto.

I could call the police about this as I clearly have been assaulted and attacked. Unfortunately though, I have no faith whatsoever in their organisation, one marred by murder and corruption itself. As for tesco management, after this, I hold little to no faith in them either. They seem to want to hide any complaint email address. I will be posting this about the internet and I still want my refund! Sacking violent employees is probably a good idea as well. I would like to be apologised to, because I did buy the lighter from you and it did not work, and I would like to be kept up to date on what is happening with roberto’s job, whether he is indeed the manager and details of any disciplinary action you will take. If I am not satisfied I may take this further.

If you *really* want a receipt I can look through my credit card details, but does anyone in tesco really think I’m still lying now ? Its a lot to go through just to replace something faulty that tesco sold me, you would think the employees would apologise for selling me something that didnt work and also calling me a liar. To be clear, to resolve this I want my hat and lighter replaced. The hat was 25 pounds and I don’t know exactly how much the lighter was, but a similar replacement would be fine, assuming it works. This is probably getting off cheap for you, because I could easily take this to the authorities or sue you and the man in question in court for assault and actual bodily harm.

This post will be sent to:

Tesco Complaints

tesco chief executive:
tesco previous CEO:
tesco customer service:

Yours Sincerely,

anon (email supplied)


bizarrely as I recounted this story to a friend who also lives locally he had a similar story. I’m quite shocked that staff members of tesco feel they routinely have the right to touch someone when they complain. As far as I am aware, if you touch somebody that doesn’t want to be touched, that is called assault. He was assaulted by two members of staff who physically removed him from the shop for daring to complain about opening times. The tesco in Mitcham Road mostly closes at 10.45 even though it clearly says 11pm on the outside of the shop. In Sainsbury’s for example the shop closes at 11 and when it does you have 10 minutes to get to the cashiers and finish your shopping. In the Mitcham Road branch of tescos they are all out by 10.50.

We have both frequently gone to the store just before 11 and arrived to find it closed already, once there was a ‘technical difficulties’ sign on the door, but the rest of the times they just shut it when they want to. My friend arrived at 10.45 and there was a very large queue which was not being attended well. This is for both of us our local store and usually we dont have a problem there, but trying to get there when close to 11 is now futile as the management obviously arbitrarily decide when they want to close. I think this information should also be passed to the head office.

My friend was simply complaining because of the long queue and because several members of staff were milling around doing nothing while everyone waited. The final straw for him came when he watched a member of staff idly rearranging spearmint sweets while a large queue waited and he asked for the man to get on a till.

This led to him being removed from the shop physically by two staff members who grabbed him and assaulted him. In future, perhaps you should inform your staff that they are not in anyway allowed to touch any of the customers. If there is some kind of unresolvable problem they should politely ask people to leave, and if this is not observed they have recourse through the police, they are not allowed to physically touch someone.