The pensioner who notched up a landmark legal case over the price of strawberries at Tesco did not live to see her victory, it has emerged.
The supermarket giant was fined £300,000 for misleading the public on a ‘half price’ offer for punnets of strawberries following a successful prosecution by Birmingham City Council.
But the woman who brought the case to the attention of the city’s trading standards’ chiefs, Daphne Smallman from Solihull, died of cancer in February, aged 78.
Tesco was prosecuted by Birmingham City Council under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations Act 2008. The case concerned Tesco on Coventry Road in Sheldon, and was widened to Tesco stores nationally, after being brought to Trading Standards’ attention by Miss Smallman, a shopper at the Birmingham branch.
During various dates in summer 2011 Tesco sold 400g punnets of British strawberries marked as half price at £1.99, with the previous prices of £2.99 and £3.99 crossed out.
Under the pricing practices guide, the length of the new lower price sale should not be longer than the old higher price was available. Tesco’s offer at £1.99 ran for 14 weeks, when its original higher price strawberries at £3.99 were sold for a much shorter length of time.
Birmingham Council argued both offers were presented in a way that misled or was likely to deceive an average consumer.
Following the prosecution at Birmingham Crown Court yesterday, head of Trading Standards for the city council, Sajeela Naseer said: “This is not only a victory for Birmingham customers it also has wider benefits for all consumers.”
At an earlier hearing, the retailer argued Birmingham City Council did not have the jurisdiction to proceed outside of Birmingham with the case. The hearing found for the city council, which argued that Birmingham residents who shop outside the city would still be affected by the offer.