Pret receives ‘thousands’ of complaints over its subscription deal

Customers say not all promised beverages are included in the £20 per month subscription

Laura Hampson
Monday 20 December 2021 10:57
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Pret a Manger is facing backlash from its customers over its £20 per month subscription plan which was launched in September 2020.

According to Pret’s website, the monthly subscription allows customers to order up to five hot or cold drinks per day. These drinks include coffee, Cold Brew, tea, hot chocolate, smoothies, frappes and iced coffees, and includes any milk alternatives, syrups and extra shots.

However, the BBC has reported that the chain has received 5,000 complaints about the offer from customers.

Complaints from customers who spoke to the BBC included reports of being told that cold drinks are unavailable, with one customer visiting four Pret stores in one morning and being told at each that it has “stopped doing smoothies”.

The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has also now stepped in after customers have complained and has told Pret that it should “consider reviewing the adverts for their subscription service”.

The ASA added that the adverts should “not state or imply” that the subscription service would cover the entire range of drinks products if this is not the case.

According to the BBC, Pret responded to the ASA with: “We have spoken with the ASA to ensure all Pret marketing for the coffee subscription is in accordance with their latest guidance.”

Former staff members have also spoken to the BBC, with one saying that staff had “deliberately” turned the blending machines that make the smoothies off as the cold drink can take one-and-a-half minutes to prepare.

“Staff are just frustrated and tired with the endless smoothie and frappes giveaway, and they just boycott it,” one former Pret worker told the BBC. “It is just easy to say that ice or smoothies or frappe are gone for today. They are really time consuming. Try to make 50 smoothies daily one by one and you will feel it.”

A spokesperson for Pret told the BBC that when the chain suggested that smoothies and frappes be removed from its subscription earlier this year, there was a “public outcry” which is why it decided to keep the drinks as part of the deal.

Pret also says that less than one per cent of its complaints for its subscription is due to the lack of smoothies and frappes.

A spokesperson for Pret a Manger told The Independent: “Our Coffee Subscription was launched last year and is the first of its kind in the UK. While it’s been incredibly popular, we’re constantly working with our Teams and customers to make it better, so that we’re able to continue to deliver the outstanding service our people are known for.

“Significantly less than one per cent of all coffee subscribers have raised any concerns about this issue, however we always welcome feedback to try and provide the best possible experience for every customer. We continue to work with shop teams to make sure they have what they need to keep Team Members and customers happy, and we are incredibly grateful to all our colleagues for their hard work during this uniquely challenging time for the sector.”

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