Sainsbury’s deliveries cancelled over tech issueson March 16, 2024 at 6:17 pm

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Sainsbury’s cancels deliveries due on Saturday as Tesco also apologises over cancellations.

A woman walks past a Sainsbury's vanImage source, Getty Images

Sainsbury’s said technical issues left it unable to fulfil the “vast majority” of online deliveries on Saturday, with contactless payments also affected.

The supermarket apologised, saying an overnight software update was to blame.

Tesco also apologised after unrelated technical issues forced it to cancel some deliveries.

Both companies said the issues had now been resolved, with Sainsbury’s saying new orders could be delivered from Sunday and contactless was working.

The chain said it had been unable to contact customers directly because of the technical issues.

Sainsbury’s chief executive Simon Roberts has written to customers, saying those affected will receive an online voucher in the coming days to apologise for the disruption.

Tesco customers received an email if their order was cancelled and were not charged if so.

A Tesco spokesperson said: “The vast majority of our online orders are being delivered as normal, but due to a technical issue earlier today we have had to cancel a small number of orders.

“We are contacting affected customers directly, and we’re really sorry for the inconvenience.”

Retail technology analyst Miya Knights told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme that if a major update was being made to a live system there needed to be “rigorous testing protocols in place [and] rigorous release planning”.

“At the end of the day its a human-related problem that these things have come down to the point where they are affecting customers,” she said.

‘I rely on deliveries’

Customers shared their experiences on X, formerly known as Twitter during the day. Some complained of cancelled deliveries and others said they had been told they could only pay by cash in certain stores.

One customer tweeted: “Avoid Sainsbury’s at Pepper Hill. The shop is in absolute chaos, cash only, no contactless, chip and pin intermittent, no self-checkout without cash, cash machines not working, horrendous queues at checkout.”

Sainsbury’s earlier said there had been “intermittent issues” with chip and pin experienced by some.

Megan Robertson, from Crewe, told BBC News as a disabled person she relies on Sainsbury’s to deliver her groceries, but on Saturday morning her shopping did not turn up.

“I rely on the deliveries because I don’t get around too well and my husband is blind,” she said.

“I went on to the Tesco site and they had no deliveries slots today.”

The Aston University computer science teaching fellow added: “People need to test software. You don’t do a major update to your live system without making sure its going to work first.”

At the Sainsbury’s store in Beeston, Nottinghamshire, the in-store bakery produced bread as normal, but the store was unable to sell it as the technical issues prevented labels from being printed.

Sainsbury’s confirmed its Click & Collect service had also been affected by cancellations.

On Saturday morning BBC News visited three Sainsbury’s Local stores in central London that were affected by technical issues.

In two of the stores, contactless payments were not working, leaving customers who normally pay using their phone struggling if they did not have a bank card or cash.

Meanwhile, a Sainsbury’s Local at Tottenham Court Road told customers it was cash only because chip and pin was not working in store.

Connor Hassan, 25, a tourist from New Zealand, was turned away from the branch because he did not have cash.

Frustrated, he said: “I just want to buy food. Maybe it’s just my generation but whenever someone only takes cash it feels seedy, like why can’t you take card?

“If no one took card I couldn’t eat today.”

Customers in Sainsbury’s Tunbridge Wells in Kent were also not able to pay using chip and pin or contactless, only cash.

In a statement, Sainsbury’s said: “We can confirm that contactless payments are now back up and running in all stores, alongside all other forms of payment.

“Our Groceries Online ordering system is working as normal and customers can place an order for delivery any time from tomorrow.

“We apologise to customers for the inconvenience caused by technical issues today – thank you for bearing with us.”

Argos, which is owned by Sainsbury’s, was also affected by the software update. It said there may be issues collecting orders in-store or delays fulfilling orders placed on Saturday.

Sainsbury’s is the second biggest supermarket chain in the UK with 600 supermarkets and over 800 convenience stores.

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