Shoppers furious on Christmas Eve as orders arrive without food and store shelves are left empty
24th December 2018

Customers who braved the Christmas Eve crowds found some stores had hardly anything left on shelves as people stock up on groceries before the bank holidays.

Meanwhile some customers said Christmas had been "ruined" because their deliveries didn't contain everything they'd ordered, including festive essentials such as carrots, potatoes and brandy cream.

A few even said their turkey and other meat centrepieces had not been delivered.

The issues affected shoppers who'd ordered from major supermarkets, including Asda, M&S, Ocado, Tesco and Sainsbury's.

Today, shoppers in Mansfield were staggered to find a branch of Tesco with bare shelves with just hours to go until Christmas.

Customers hoping to stock up on last-minute items were disappointed as only a few items were left on some shelves.

The issue doesn't appear to be widespread – but shelves at major supermarkets could become emptier as the day goes on.

That might worry shoppers who've been forced to pop into the supermarket today after their online orders missed out items.

Chris Toborne, who ordered a shop with Asda online, said "half" his shop was missing. He said he was offered a £5 voucher from the supermarket – but added that he would rather have the "food I paid for".






Another Asda shopper, Tracy, complained that 14 items she had ordered online were substituted, with four missing altogether – including the turkey.

Several people were angry because they'd ordered their Christmas food shop weeks ago, only for it to arrive with many items missing.

Hannah Osborne angrily tweeted Ocado's customer service team yesterday after she said the delivery driver had "accidentally gave some of our Christmas food order to another customer".

She added: "Now I have to go food shopping tomorrow. With a 1yr old. On Christmas Eve."

Alex Willimott, who also ordered with Ocado, wrote: "The whole point of booking Christmas food 2 months in advance is so we don’t have to enter the melee on Christmas Eve.

Your rights when shopping online

  • Consumer rights haven’t really kept up with the changing ways that we shop, so there are no definitive rules for online shopping and substitutions. But the basic principles are the same.
  • The rules (in this case, the Consumer Rights Act 2015) say that you have 30 days from the date the goods were purchased to return the item if it’s wonky or isn’t as it was described. You’re entitled to a full refund if the goods are returned within 30 days.
  • Supermarkets all have T&Cs on their websites that are supposed to cover them if they can’t provide specific brands. But unless the item they have substituted is more or less the same as the one you wanted, you can return and get a refund.
  • You should not be charged full price for a cheaper substitution, for example if you're given a supermarket's own brand instead of a branded product.
  • The goods should be the same or similar that the ones you requested and not random.
  • If a large number of inappropriate substitutions have taken place, it’s reasonable to expect the firm to come and collect them.
  • If there’s a specific reason why you can’t use an item (allergies, dietary requirements, vegetarians, etc.) then you can request a full refund.
  • Unfortunately, the law isn’t clear on how returns would work under these circumstances, so you might have to schlep back to the shop.
  • But many supermarkets say you can hand back substitutions to the delivery driver if you're not happy with them and you should be given a refund.






"If you swap a load of stuff out, what’s the point in ordering from you at all? We now have to rearrange tomorrow to fill the gaps in our order."

Some people also complained that click and collect orders were also missing items.

One customer said M&S had cancelled her festive food order, which she was planning to take to her sick grandmother today.

An M&S spokeswoman said: "The vast majority of our customers have seamlessly collected their food orders from our stores.

"Where we’ve not been able to fulfil a very small number of orders, we’ve offered customers alternative options and a gesture of goodwill. We apologise for any inconvenience caused to our customers.”

An Ocado spokesman added: "We understand the importance of our customers’ orders, particularly at Christmas, which is why when items ordered are unavailable at time of delivery we will always try to offer a substitute item that is similar.

"We apologise for any inconvenience and disappointment caused when those substitutes are not suitable."

The Sun has asked all supermarkets affected by the issues for comment.

Outraged shoppers have shared a list of their worst – but hilarious – Christmas food substitutions.

Meanwhile a supermarket price war means that you could feed a family of eight for less than £3 this Christmas.

Money bloggers have also been sharing their top tips for saving money on the Christmas dinner food shop.

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