FAMILIES are being left without food after Sainsbury's cancelled their deliveries without warning – but still charged them.
And customers complain when groceries do arrive, fresh food is right at the best before date – with some people left with eight hours to eat it.
Hundreds of furious shoppers – many isolating families or relatives of vulnerable elderly people – have taken to social media in recent days to complain about poor service from the supermarket.
They accused Sainsbury's of dumping nearly out-of-date food on isolating and shielding shoppers who have no choice but to accept it.
Families said they had been left without anything to eat or money to buy more food after Sainsbury's cancelled deliveries but didn’t send an immediate refund.
It comes as millions of shoppers are relying on the online service to supply food during the lockdown, particularly if they are shielding or self-isolating.
Sainsbury's – along with rival supermarkets Tesco, Asda and Morrisons – faced similar backlash back in December after orders were cancelled due to snow.
The store promises to refund customers whose deliveries have been cancelled in three to five days, but some customers said this hasn't happened.
Shoppers also complained it was impossible to get through to customer services, with long waits on the phone and enquiries on social media being ignored or responded to with automated messages.
One Twitter user said: “Sainsbury’s have messaged me three hours before my food delivery is due informing me that they’ve cancelled it with no explanation.
“I am disabled and was relying on this as I am unable to do a big food shop in store by myself and now I have next to no food.”
Another user tweeted: “They didn’t even let me know it wasn’t coming! I’ve had no communication from them other than me calling twice to chase refund and to find out why my shopping never turned up!
"I’m completely out of pocket as have a family of five to feed and had to pay out twice last week for food!”
Dan tweeted: “Sainsbury's have left my elderly mum with no shopping, delivery cancelled, no help available, been on hold for hours, nobody cares, don't redeliver if they cancel, just say book another slot in a week's time. Really thought they were better than this.”
Anna Brennan said her wheelchair-bound father, 83, and mother, 74, had their order cancelled twice with no explanation.
She tweeted: “These are two elderly vulnerable people who have had two deliveries cancelled.
“Meaning my mother has to go out leaving my disabled father on his own.
“You should be finding another slot for them as a priority not cancelling twice in a week.”
Pregnant mum had to borrow money to get food after Sainsbury’s cancelled order – but kept money
PREGNANT Selina Pang was left £153 out of pocket after Sainsbury’s failed to deliver her family’s weekly shop.
The student midwife, 37, from Barnet, north London, is shielding for health reasons. She had a priority customer delivery slot but her shopping never arrived – and neither did a refund.
“I had to borrow money from my mum to buy some food for my three-year-old daughter,” she said. “Sainsburys left me without any food – or money to buy any more.”
After hours on the phone to customer services, she was refunded with vouchers but technical issues meant she was unable to use these to cover the cost of a replacement shop.
It was only after bombarding the store’s Twitter account with hundreds of messages she finally received the money back – and a £20 apology voucher – three weeks after her cancelled order.
Online shoppers claimed the supermarket had fobbed them off with a range of excuses for cancelled or delayed orders.
This included poor road conditions, a lack of pickers who pack orders for delivery, the cold weather, driver sickness and computer problems.
Some customers said they had been given different reasons each time they contacted Sainsbury's.
And several shoppers said they had received deliveries containing food that was going off.
One customer said customer services had told them it was a deliberate move by the supermarket to “prevent food waste”.
David Miller tweeted: “Once again an online delivery arrives and get 8 hours to eat something before it goes off, in the bin again. Waste of time ordering from Sainsbury's.”
Lisa Ward said: “Getting fed up with the amount of short shelf life items I am being delivered with no warning on the email receipt.
“Two weeks in a row now. Whole sliced loaf and a 6-pack of breakfast muffins to use by tomorrow (my order was delivered at 5pm).”
Rob Dyson said his entire weekly shop of veg, fruit and meat all needed to be eaten within 48 hours of Sainsbury’s delivering it.
And another customer tweeted: “Aren’t Sainsbury’s great, switched to online shopping yesterday, all my fresh foods are out of date already.
“When questioned their response is that they send these items out to reduce food waste. So thanks for passing that waste onto your paying customer. Appreciated.”
A Sainsbury’s spokeswoman said the supermarket is aware of "a tiny proportion of customers" who haven't received adequate service.
The grocer added that it now delivers over 800,000 orders every week but demand, due to lockdown restrictions, remains unprecedented.
The spokesperson added: “On the rare occasions we have to cancel a delivery we do our best to reschedule for as soon as possible, while continuing to prioritise our elderly and vulnerable customers.
“If we’re unable to rearrange we will process a refund within a few days.
“We are very sorry that we recently had to cancel some deliveries due to adverse weather in order to keep our colleagues safe.”
The spokesperson added that the supermarket tries to offer products with the longest possible shelf life, and says customers should be emailed in advance where this isn't the case.
Sainsbury's was this week found to have INCREASED the price of some products to ‘price match’ Aldi.
Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, supermarkets have more than doubled their capacity for online orders.
But still, some customers have struggled to get a slot, particularly over the busy Christmas period.
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