Tesco is combatting a wave of “fraud” circulating around social media that appears to land shoppers with a haul of sweets for free.
Stores nationwide have been alerted to the loophole, apparently originating from TikTok, which involves sharing a coupon barcode for £1 off sweets.
Called the ‘Tesco Method’, it is believed the original coupon came from a customer complaint to a manufacturer, who then provided a voucher for free sweets intended to be used once.
The coupon has since been shared widely on TikTok, with users taking screenshots and using the barcodes in store.
ITV News understands Tesco has now implemented a fix on the coupon, with one Tesco in Portsmouth reportedly leaving signs at the counters warning prosecution against use of the TikTok “hack.”
But that came too late for the hundreds taking advantage and sharing their spoils online over the past few weeks.
It isn’t clear which sweets have been eligible for the coupon, though some have shared pictures and video showing several packs of Starbursts, Fruit Pastilles and Skittles.
Another shows a pack of Maltesers among a more modest takeaway.
The trend has been exposed by, among others, Holly Smith, a self-confessed bargain-hunter who has risen to prominence for her tips on how to save money legitimately through vouchers and deals through her own video blog, called Holly Vlogs.
“This coupon was never meant to be shared publicly because it is unique to that one person,” she said on her TikTok channel.
She explains that each coupon has two barcodes – one to be scanned at Tesco to take £1 off each purchase and one for the manufacturer, which is unique.
“At the end of the day when Tesco empty their self-checkout and they send all the coupons up to the manufacturer to get £1 back for each bag purchased, the manufacturer scans this (its own) barcode," she said.
“Now if the barcode has been used once already, the manufacturer will not pay out Tesco any more than the £1.”
She warned that use of the coupon can result in a ban, she added.
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