Pret told to review drink subscription adverts after complaints

Customers had complained that not all kinds of drinks were available at every store as part of their five-drinks-a-week deal.

August Graham
Monday 20 December 2021 13:45
The drinks subscription costs customers £20 per month (Nick Ansell/PA)
The drinks subscription costs customers £20 per month (Nick Ansell/PA)

Sandwich and coffee chain Pret a Manger has been told that it should look at how it advertises its monthly subscription service after reports of complaints from customers.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it had told Pret to “consider reviewing” its advertising campaign for the £20-a-month subscription.

Pret subscribers can choose five drinks, including coffees, teas, frappes and hot chocolates, every day as part of the deal by scanning a code at checkout.

But customers complained to the BBC that they were often unable to get smoothies under the deal, as many shops said they were unable to make them.

We noted that their ads should not state or imply that the service was available in all store locations, or that it covers their entire range of products if that wasn’t the case

Advertising Standards Authority

The broadcaster said that customers had made about 5,000 complaints to Pret about the deal, which was launched a little over a year ago.

The ASA said: “Following a handful of complaints, we sent an advice notice to Pret suggesting that they consider reviewing the ads for their subscription service.

“We noted that their ads should not state or imply that the service was available in all store locations, or that it covers their entire range of products if that wasn’t the case.

“An advice notice is where we consider that there are potential problems under our advertising rules but do not consider the issues raised are so significant as to warrant a full formal investigation.”

However, the advice notice likely means that the chain will not face any more action from officials.

They looked into the complaints, but found they did not warrant a full investigation.

“We will not seek an assurance of compliance or contact the advertiser again regarding the matter,” the ASA said.

“We will also write to the complainant to explain the action we have taken.

“We encourage anyone with concerns about any ads they’ve seen to get in touch.”

We always welcome feedback to try and provide the best possible experience for every customer

Pret a Manger

Pret said: “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 1% 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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