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Maida Vale shopper sues Nectar – for 15p

Joan Safran with her Nectar card. Picture: Polly Hancock Joan Safran with her Nectar card. Picture: Polly Hancock

Monday, January 28, 2013
5:00 PM

A Maida Vale resident is taking the definition of the small claims court literally – by suing the Nectar shopping rewards scheme for 15pence.

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Retired university lecturer Dr Joan Safran has vowed to stand up for shoppers all over the country who, she says, are cheated out of getting the points they deserve when they shop.

The 75-year-old filed a claim on Friday against Nectar on what she said was an important issue of principle. She decided to take up the fight after shopping in the Finchley Road branch of Sainsbury’s late last year.

She spent a total of £32 and paid for it with £15-worth of points and £17 in cash – but only received new reward points for the £17 she spent. If she had paid in cash, the retired philosopher would have received 15p-worth of Nectar points, for which she is now demanding from Nectar.

Dr Safran, who lives off Elgin Avenue, claims Nectar are cheating shoppers out of points they legitimately earn.

She said: “It’s a miniscule amount of money but I just think, ‘How many millions of shoppers?’ It would add up to so much money.

She added: “It cost me £25 to make this suit, but I did it in the public interest. Nectar’s gain is the people’s loss; the establishment is pulling the wool over our eyes. It is the social conscience I have that always costs me money!”

But Nectar said she would not win the case. A Nectar spokesperson said: “We are aware of this claim. However, as stated in the terms and conditions of Nectar membership, Nectar points cannot be earned on any items which are paid for with Nectar points in Sainsbury’s.”

Dr Safran said the company’s actions were unjust and worth taking to court.

She said: “I told them they were breaching their own contract by making us forfeit points. I think I would have noticed if it been happening previously. In fact, the cashier pointed out to me, ‘You have spent £17 today’. But the rest hadn’t been given to me for free because I earned those points already!”

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