Several customers, including a The Times journalist, have ask how Pret can make a profit from their “generous” subscription offer.
And another recent question on reddit:
I explain in detail below.
UPDATE 27.04.2023: Reddit censors very heavily for no reason, unless prompted by Pret via Facebook/Instagram because my website url is completely blacklisted on FB/IG.
This picture here says “deleted”, but that’s not true, it’s been hidden from public view by reddit in secret.
Reddit also hides the feed on my reddit profile. Please see THIS LINK which here below is portrayed as “deleted”.:
Link that leads to my comment which reddit has HIDDEN around mid April 2023. It’s still there, because I can see it when logged in, but not when logged out. I made a screenshot of the upper part of my comment, with the date on my computer bottom right.
Close-up of the date of 27.04.2023, when I screenshot my comment on reddit while logged in (not visible when logged out or just saying “deleted” which is a trick by social media to hide that they censor):
I linked to my comment on anothr sub-reddit and was then informed that I deleted it, which of course isn’t the case as reddit just hid it from public view. The comment by the person who told me, my response to the person is also hidden 😀
Welcome to reddit and toxic censorship:
Link to this other subreddit where my comments above and under it are also hidden 😀 Only I can see it when logged in.
Here’s my full text that reddit has hidden from public view. I copy the whole text without correcting any spelling mistakes, to keep it as is.
“Former Pret staff here. It’s very simple how Pret make a profit. It’s a rabbit hole, but I explain.
– Pret FIRST advertised in Sep. 2020 the subscription as “endless”, “unlimited” barista made drinks, that included the expensive iced drinks, chai latte etc. while their T&Cs say 5 drinks per day in 30 minute intervals.
– After a year long of tweeting, complaining, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) got involved and Pret had to remove this false advertising and only announce it as 5 drinks per day, not endless.
– Then Pret announced early 2021 to be discontinuing the expensive iced drinks on the sub from April 2021 on. Many customers announced to boycott Pret and cancel their subscription. Pret then pretended to be humble, listening to customer and announced that the iced drinks will remain on the sub. But this turned out to just be on paper.
– Customer complaints started flooding in that they can hardly find a shop that makes the expensive frappes, smoothies etc. Common excuses were broken ice machines, broken blenders, out of stock etc. etc.
– The most nasty thing Pret does (and it continues to this day in some occasions) they make it hard for people to unsubscribe/cancel from the sub. And when people do manage to unsubscribe, Pret continues to withdraw money from accounts, even months after cancellation.
– Pret claim to be having technical difficulties etc. And yet, how can a company the size of Pret have THAT many technical issues for THAT long!?
In a nutshell, Pret make profit by the following:
– Luring customers in via a falsely advertised subscription (also see BBC report below)
– Refusing to make the expensive drinks under various excuses
– Have technical difficulties hindering customers to scan their QR codes, and then after giving Pret the benefit of the doubt, they pay AGAIN instore for a coffee thinking only their QR code has an issue, while reality many customers wait for their QR code for days and/or their codes then don’t work and as they’re already in the shop, they PAY again for a coffee.
– Pret also claim to have “supplier issues” since a year on chai latte. Chai latte is more expensive for Pret to give on the sub and it takes longer to make for the understaffed workers. So, they just say, we don’t chai due to supplier issues. Yet, Starbucks, Nero, Costa etc have no supplier issues on chai.
– Under-staff shops forcing staff to work harder for less money, less staff, and have customers wait longer, and then turn around leaving the shop without a “free” coffee.
– Also, quality of products went down. Watered down products, cheaper coffee suppliers, decreased package/portion sizes for the same or even higher price etc. Pret also stopped complimentary items like the butter portions for soup bread, or discontinued the seeds for porridge, or downsized the 35g honey pots to 15g honey squeezable etc. etc.
– The Attachment rate: Someone mentioned already that people often buy other things while coming for a “free” coffee. Especially forcing customers to wait longer in the queue due to undertsfaffed shops, they linger around in the queue looking at other items, tempted to buy what they never came for in the first place. Win-win for Pret.
I posted a snippet of a leaked video I was sent by staff from a zoom call of Pret executives which I passed on to the BBC who reported on this. In the video UK Managing Director (who’s currently on maternity leave) explained the “attachment rate” when Pret first had the “£20 for 20 coffees” deal.
Scroll down about half way to the video:
In a nutshell, it’s basically ripping people off in many many little ways, and it all adds up.
Thieves who steal credit card details, don’t rob your whole bank account in one go, no, they purchase items in small amount of money over a period of a long time until people notice it.
People don’t notice the odd £5 disappearing from their account, especially if they have a good income and use mainly card to pay.
That’s how Pret does it. Take a little here, and a little there, but spread it out over MANY customers and for a LONG time … KATCHINK!!! That’s where the profit comes in.
They would only stop when called out publicly by MANY people and especially the press, the ASA, lawsuits and heavy fines. Other than that, the rip-off continues.
I put a YouTube slide together with some of the MANY customer complaints on this:
And the BBC recently reported on this after I was contacted by the journalist who covered it as I expose Pret on their shady practices:
“Pret A Manger customers complain over drinks subscription deal “
End of quote of my own text on reddit.
UPDATE June 2022
A customer cancelled her subscription in August 2021 and realized now that Pret continued to charge her, altogether £210. From all the complaints I’ve seen on social media, there have been several who were charged 3, 6+ months after cancellation, but this is the longest, almost 9 months. And not all customers complain publicly, only Pret know how many complain via email/DM or try to get through via phone where Pret customer service rarely picks up.
If people have enough or a lot of money in their bank account, it will take a long time to notice that the odd £20 goes missing every month, except if they check their accounts regularly like I do, as I have been overcharged on several occasions. Clever thieves who steal credit card details often don’t wipe the bank account out of all its funds, but they withdraw or make purchases of small amounts over a long period of time until the account holder realizes.
Same with Pret. Take a little here and there from MANY customers over a long period of time, that’s how they make profit. Pret should seriously get investigated by financial standard and trading standard bodies.
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.
Please also see the MEDIA page for more.
Thank you for reading/listening.
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