Online supermarkets worse than the real thing

Mouldy tomatoes and stale bread

Doing the weekly shop on the Net isn't all it's cracked up to be, according to survey by Which?

The consumer watchdog checked out the four main supermarket sites - Asda, Iceland, Sainsbury's and Tesco. It sent out 25 volunteers to make a total of 40 online supermarket sweeps. Most were disappointed, and complained about slow and unreliable services or substandard products.

Half the orders took more than an hour and a half to complete online. Almost a third took more than two hours - and this was just for 35 items.

Meanwhile, the e-shoppers were less than impressed with trying to locate everyday products. One user trying out the Asda site found the words "washing", "powder" and "detergent" were not recognised.

Many items from shopping lists were missing from deliveries - only two Asda orders and one at Iceland were complete. Some shoppers got stuff they hadn't asked for. Others found stale bread or mouldy tomatoes, or items a bit too near their 'best before' dates.

"E-supermarkets have lots to offer shoppers but, at the moment, they bring plenty of disappointments too," said Helen Parker, Which? magazine editor.

"Online supermarkets have a way to go before they become the first choice for convenience shopping." ®

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