A brief bullet-point summed up list at the bottom of how Pret is ripping customers off and exploit staff. Detail in the links here. But if people have no time to read at the moment, scroll down to the bottom where the bullet points are.
I know that people have a hard time believing that Pret is purposely ripping customers off. Customers can die in Pret. Staff speak out about the systemic bullying in Pret. I’ve written extensively about Pret intense, micromanaging and abusive Mystery Shopper scheme that forces staff to smile and pretend to be happy during extreme stressful and underpaid work conditions. But people still WANT to believe in Pret’s “ethical” facade!
Here is another one of Pret’s scheme. When customers complain about an issue on social media, Pret asks for the customer’s address to send some goodies. Customers quickly give their data to get some cheap sweets in the post.
Now, why has Pret not offered this to all the customers who have the subscription and complained that NO shop makes the expensive frappes and smoothies on the subscription?
Easy answer, because Pret already has your data! Pret “pays” with cheap freebies to get customer data. And most people fall for it!
Link to Tweet
I want to add to The New York Times article “Pret will try anything to survive”, in what else Pret is trying to do to survive. Pret has recently received a £185m cash injection from their in tax-haven Luxembourg based owners JAB. And yet, even with this cash injection Pret refuse to pay rent and has at least 6 lawsuits in the U.S. on their neck:
Pret also has done staff cuts and the exploitation is much worse for employees, but is also spilling over to customers.
A list of links, what is shown in the links is what Pret staff leak to me together with increased customer complaints on social media. Click on each link to see the specific issue in which Pret rips customers off and squeezes the life-blood out of low-wage staff to get as much money as possible.
UPDATE 15.06.2021 a NEW thing Pret dishes out now:
- No plastic cups for iced drinks supposedly due to supplier issues! LOL! Pret always quotes “supplier” issues when lying. So, if customers are lucky to get an iced drink on subscription, or even, worse paying for it (while having subscription but the bogus BS of QR can’t be read bla bla), they now get it in a cheaper and SMALLER paper cup! The plastic cup is 16oz, but the paper cup is 12oz (and the flat white cup 8oz). So, people now get ripped off out of 4oz. Not much, you think?! Well, do the math! Just another way to safe money and keep ripping customers off! I wouldn’t be surprised that shops have plastic cups in the back stock room! 😉
And Pret has now added a 14oz paper cup, but customers are still cheated out of 2oz. Doesn’t sound much you may say, but it adds up!
Pret sold 16,500 subscriptions on the FIRST day of the launch back in September 2020! That’s £330,000 in the first day (on the 2nd month after the initial “free” month that many customers aren’t able to cancel!) without even having to deliver a product! That’s JUST the sign-up cash flow without serving a drink. Do a rough calculation of further sales and multiply this by 4oz! You get the idea.
Also, when products or packaging disappear for a few weeks, they always return smaller or watered down under the “new improved recipe” lie. I wrote a post on Pret’s “supplier issue” excuse when Pret had no chocolate powder in shops for several weeks. One social media person accidentally spilled the truth once after colleagues kept giving the “supplier issue”: The Pret A Manger Hot Chocolate Saga
One Pret social media staff told a different lie before another colleague the next day went back to the “supplier issue” lie:
And then the very next day, back to the “supplier issue” lie:
- UPDATE 24.06.2021 Another lie when customers ask why Pret doesn’t do the complimentary butter portions for the bread. What does Covid-19 have to do with not offering complimentary butter portions? And another lie of butter portions “sold”. Sold? Since when did Pret SELL butter portions! They sell the small bread for soups or salads, but the butter always came with it for free. So many lies …
- Stretching Dates using expired ingredients.
- Not “freshly made“ – abandoning their “made today, gone today” ideal.
- Cutting staff, overworking them, long queues for customers. Cutting hours, benefits, bonus etc. exploiting low-wage staff even more than they already did pre-Pandemic. This in turn endangers customers again with continuing to →
- False advertisement of “endless” or “unlimited” drinks on the coffee subscription while T&C state 5 per day. AND hardly any shop makes the (for Pret) expensive frappes and smoothies on the subscription with a list of excuses.
Pret made an instant £330,000 in one day, the first day of the subscription without having delivered ANY service. And not only did Pret get cash, they got people’s data.
Link to article
A small collection of the MANY customer complaints on social media. The slide is just from Twitter, but there is much more on FB, Insta, private DMs to me etc.
- Making it hard for customers to cancel the subscription, sending them in loops with all sorts of “technical” glitches. And when customers manage to cancel ON TIME and even receive a confirmation email that it was successfully cancelled, Pret still withdraws money the following month(s) from people’s bank accounts AFTER cancellation.
Also, customers don’t receive their QR codes, they end up paying for their coffees in-store after having signed up and paid the first £20 for the subscription. And other QR codes and technical issues forcing customers into paying for coffees while having the subscription. Just a few of the almost daily inquiries:
I was sent Christou’s email on the morning 19.03.2020 and passed it on to the press and social media (full email in above link). After a public outcry, Pret paused their plans for a while, but later started to cut hours as well as making 3000+ redundant. All the while still giving freebies to NHS workers. Low-wage Pret staff in nutshell PAID for the freebies. And only very few NHS workers stood up against this PR stunt. Most enjoyed their freebies and 50% off.
etc. etc. etc.
If I’ve forgotten or am not aware of anything, please let me know via the contact form NOT Twitter or Facebook DM! I don’t get notifications of DM requests and can’t think of checking every day.
And please support small independent businesses.
To sum up, the list of how Pret rips off customers:
- No expensive smoothies and frappes (except cheaper iced drinks) on the subscription with multiple excuses.
- Iced drinks in cheaper and smaller paper cups IF people are lucky to get an iced drink. They’re getting cheated out of 2oz or 4oz.
- Expired foods by stretching dates, which is not even legal, but it’s all about not getting caught!
- Delay in sending the QR code under the excuse of “technical issues”, so customers who give Pret the benefit of the doubt end up PAYING for a coffee, or especially iced drink while already having paid £20 for the subscription!
- Pret making it hard to cancel the subscription, sending people in a loop. And if people managed to cancel, Pret continues to withdraw money, at times even several months AFTER people have cancelled AND received the confirmation email of the successful cancellation.
- Now Pret has started to also have technical issues when customer try to START a subscription. But knowing Pret, after all the complaints and my blog, this may be to appear that Pret has general technical issues, even when people try to register the subscription. A clever move!
- False advertisement of “endless” and “unlimited” drinks on the subscription, while T&C is 5 per day with 30 minute intervals.
- People having issues in-store that machines can’t read or recognize their QR code, ending up paying AGAIN for a coffee.
- PR move and smokescreen by giving NHS workers free coffees and 50% rebate on food, and the next day announcing staff cuts. Pret low-wage staff paid for the NHS freebie PR stunt.
- Cutting staff, cutting labour hours, cutting benefits, bonus, paid break etc. Overworking low-wage staff, who in turn get so exhausted and burnt out that they start snapping and being rude at customers and each other. It’s a lose-lose for customers AND staff, both who pay financially and mentally/physically for Pret’s greed. It’s a win-win for Pret.
Dear customer and reader, if you really still think all these are just coincidences and technical hick-ups, especially after a current Pret Barista spilled the beans that they are asked to LIE to customers, well, then have a nice day in bliss, because there’s nothing people can tell you, and you need to enjoy getting ripped off while Pret accumulates billions again!
I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.
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