How Pret make Profit from the Coffee Subscription

Several customers, including a The Times journalist, have ask how Pret can make a profit from their “generous” subscription offer.

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And another recent question on reddit:

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I explain in detail, click on the picture to read on reddit or on the link underneath:

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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.

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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.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.
©2017 – Present: expret.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Another #PretAManger Lie – QR Codes

A rare customer tenacity who stays with it like a dog to the bone!

Pret’s doing it again, this time a new lie emerges: “Payment hasn’t gone through yet”.

I will try to keep this as short as possible, only posting a handful of the MANY complaints regarding Pret’s coffee subscription.

If people put the following into Twitter search and click “latest” scrolling down and down and down:

@pret qr

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Go down weeks and month where subscription customers have problems with the QR code. Pret delays sending the QR code and customers give Pret the benefit of the doubt, thinking it’s just them this happens to AND it’s just a technical glitch. Or customers do have the code but the device in the shop can’t read it for … yep, you guessed it, another technical issue.

And yet these glitches keep going on since the subscription started last year, and a company the size of Pret should NOT have THAT many technical issues!

Pret also installed donation payment devises which many customers in a rush mistake for payment devices. Customers then “pay” and are prompted to touch the payment device as the payment didn’t get through! Customers donate £5+ not realizing until prompted again. Interesting that the donation devices ALWAYS work! 😉

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Customers then don’t get a response via email or phone when trying to get a refund! Also note the psychology here! I bet that MANY customers who accidentally donate to the Pret Foundation Trust probably don’t raise this to get a refund as they may feel they don’t appear charitable!

Pret should get seriously investigated not only for the shady practices with the subscription, but also where the money donated to the PFT actually really goes to! Pret is trying to get cash at every turn possible which some I will list at the bottom. It’s also interesting that this “payment issue” happens towards the middle to end of the week so Pret can use the weekend to say their social media team is off or low on staff and banks are closed during the weekend.

And as usual, after the “technical issue” is fixed, grass will quickly grow over it and customers are very forgiving while Pret made a quick buck again ripping customers off again and again and again …

So, today’s lie regarding the QR code delay is that the payment hasn’t gone through yet, even though some customers have been waiting for days. Many people give Pret the benefit of the doubt and PAY in-store for a coffee. Some are lucky and get a free coffee (not free as they already paid for it via the sub). But many others end up paying.

Only a few of today’s complaints and many more since months:

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From the usual technical issues, Pret now switch to the “payment not gone through” version. I’m telling customers to do what a man did in 2009 when he invoiced Pret and other companies for waiting too long in queues. Pret played along, having a laugh as Pret at the time had soaring profit. When I first came across this in 2018 the Telegraph article was still open without having to sign up, but I either missed taking screenshots of the man’s invoice to Pret and Pret’s response letter and PAYMENT, or I can’t find it at the moment. But I remember the man meticulously listing the times he spent in each company and shops to the minute.

UPDATE: 16.10.2021

So, to all QR-code-delay victims, organize with other “fraud victims” and send Pret an invoice on how many days, hours and minutes you had to wait for your QR code AND how long you had to wait in the queue to get your drink!

You never know, maybe another news article comes out of it! The Telegraph article:

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Link to article.

And here a small list of other issues where Pret tries to keep or get cash.

I use YouTube as well for several reasons, one is that my blog is completely blocked/censored on Facebook and Instagram after Pret or a die-hard Pret fan reported me. Even PRIVATE messages on FB are immediately blocked/deleted by FB when I put the url to my blog in a message! But I can post YT and Twitter and other links. Two, some people don’t like to read long blog posts, so I try to make it more accessible if people don’t want to read too much.

  • No expensive iced drinks on the sub (and I suspect now Matcha Latte, Chai Latte, Hot Chocolate etc. under the “supplier issue” version). Via YouTube:

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  • And during the summer when people did manage to get an iced drink, often by PAYING mind you, Pret provided it in either 12oz or then newly ordered 14oz CHEAPER paper cups and not in the more expensive larger 16oz plastic cups with “dome” lids for cream.

    If a customer is lucky to get the complimentary cream on top, the drink will be even smaller as the lid is flatter. Pret supposedly had “supplier issues” of the 16oz cups while not having supplier issues of the new 14oz paper cups. Do an estimate on how many thousands of customers get cheated out of 2-4oz. Like Tesco say: “every little helps”! When I worked at Pret we were ALWAYS instructed to say “supplier issues” or “missing delivery” when items weren’t there, even if the reason was different like a product recall etc.

    The plastic cups are back now as Pret can’t keep this on forever, but it went on for many weeks. Just one of MANY complaints:

  • Hard to cancel the subscription, and IF customers manage to cancel and receive confirmation email of the cancellation, Pret continues to withdraw £20 subscription fee even in months to come. I alway advise people to also cancel the direct debit with their bank as soon as they received the confirmation email of the cancellation. They can show the cancellation to their bank and request that all future payments get blocked/cancelled, otherwise customers turn into monthly donors to Pret.

    Also Pret did a mess-up with the expiry dates, especially in the beginning of the sub. For example if a customer received the expiry date as 16. October 2021, it really actually expired TODAY and automatically renewed. The customer thought the date is tomorrow and that they have today to cancel their first month free trial/free month, while it already renewed and Pret again blamed some technical issue!


    Customers are send into a loop trying to cancel and trying to get a refund, but no reply, phone is not picked up or the phone number isn’t recognized, of if customers get through to customer service, the phone call is suddenly disconnected, yada yada yada! Good ole rip-off!

    This guy screenshot the loop-rollercoaster he’s been on:

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More complaints via YouTube:

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One super angry, now former, customer on Instagram. I’ve read many angry customers’ comments, but this one I have to share:

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  • Pret doesn’t only cheat customers out of their dough! Cutting wages, bonus, benefits, even wage theft leading some caring customers not only to boycott Pret, but many have vowed to never set foot inside Pret again! Pret is now a minimum-wage employer and have recently been named and shamed by the UK Government amongst 190 other companies for paying UNDER the minimum-wage! Via YouTube:

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  • Pret now censors directly, deleting former staff comments on Instagram and Facebook, and disabling the comment section under their “we’re hiring” posts. But I grabbed some screenshots before Pret shut it down. Plus Loose Women presenter Nadia Sawalha’s stern words to Pret: Last Minute?? Staff Disruptions

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  • Also, going back to the Pret Foundation Trust donations, CEO Pano Christou did his usual “charity” stunt by having announced he’d be running the half-marathon in Hackney to raise funds for the PFT and to “alleviate poverty”. But he tops it by wanting donations from his minimum-wage, poverty stricken front-line staff after he cut their wages, bonus, benefits etc. The very staff who carried Pret through the pandemic on the front-lines, risking their lives, while executives and HQ staff worked from home or socially distanced in air conditioned HQ.

    Some staff got Covid and Pret did NOTHING as revealed to me by a former staff on Facebook. Shop staff are getting pooped on like the Government poops on NHS staff! Pano Christou has no shame whatsoever! And I QUESTION where the money goes to because Pret has other problems right now than raising donations for the poor! I just don’t buy it!

    And asking his LOWEST paid staff for donations, AFTER cutting their wages and other things, is utterly disgusting and rotten to the core!


    Detail here: Pret A Manger’s “Charity” Projects.

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  • Many Pret shops in city centers are closed down, or open later and close earlier than the advertised opening times. Pret gives the main reason as staff shortages. While this is one part of the reason as Pret has fired 3000 and many staff walked out as well, another reason may be that as Pret is opening 200 shops outside city centers, closing shops in cities helps Pret finance new shop openings. Why is that a rip-off for customers? Just two of countless complaints on Pret’s different social media platforms:

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Instead of Pret listing the shops that are closed on their website or warn customers to check if their local Pret is open before signing up, Pret continues to sell the subscription that many people can’t use as their local shops are closed. Katchink!

And there are other “rip-offs”, some of which I posted here: Pret is INDEED trying anything to survive

To end this long post I couldn’t keep short again, a real Pret Mystery Shopper report with most of then 32 micromanaging questions staff are patronized with every week. Staff are forced to smile, chat, give eye contact, have spotless shops or the whole team don’t get the bonus. If ONE staff makes a mistake, the whole team get penalized by not getting bonus. If ONE kisses butt extra special like giving a free coffee, cookie or lunch, the Mystery Shopper “may” (or may not!) reward that one staff with the £100 cash reward, even when the whole shop lost the regular £1 per hour bonus. Happened here:

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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.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.
©2017 – Present: expret.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Day 11 – Pret A Manger’s Coffee Subscription

… and so many complaints that customers continue to get charged even after they cancelled their subscription in time.

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11 December – Day 11 of Away in Pret A Manger adVENT Calendar 2020

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People either can’t cancel, can’t log in, don’t get a confirmation email, don’t get a response when emailing Pret (except when publicly tweeting), having various “technical” issues and a dozen other reasons why they can’t cancel. And if they manage to cancel before the expiry/renewal date, following all the terms and conditions, they are still getting charged the following month as if they’ve never cancelled. Coincidence? 😉

In one Tweet a customer has even cancelled TWICE and Pret still keeps drawing money out of their bank account, or someone contacted Pret 4 times without a response, and then went on Twitter in public.

People need to cancel the direct debit with their bank to avoid being charged.

The Tweet here is an RT of a news article about this. The article is at the bottom of this page, which also shows how to make sure it’s really cancelled.

The below YouTube slideshow with the Tweets are only a fraction of the huge amount of complaints. There is much more, also on Facebook, Instagram and who knows how many emails Pret doesn’t respond to.

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A year ago a customer already noticed a dodgy thing Pret was doing regarding unsubscribing from marketing emails:

Link to Tweet

Just a few collected complaints on YouTube:

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News report on MoneySavingExpert.com that only bothered to give 3 examples from customer Tweets:

Link to article

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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.

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Thank you for reading/listening.

©2017 – Present: expret.org


Interview:

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Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.
©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Smoothie Operator – The Pret A Manger Lie

Upfront, dear customer and reader, especially in Europe, do your homework on General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Subscriptions of cheap coffees lure customers into freely giving their precious personal data for future marketing! More on this at the bottom of this post. But under GDPR you can request for your data 1. not be included on Pret’s database, or 2. if you did subscribe, upon unsubscribing you can request for your data to be DELETED and request to not be contacted with advertisement in the future!

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So, here is another Pret A Manger trick.

Pret advertises free “unlimited”, yep, “endless” free smoothies on a monthly subscription. “Endless” here means 5 per day mind you.

Trouble is, not many shops do them for free. Why is that? Very simple reason. The reason I keep posting on Twitter is mainly 1. that shop Managers hate giving smoothies for free as they are expensive. Pret HQ comes up with all these freebie marketing, and shops have to foot the bill. 2. Baristas hate doing smoothies and frappes because they take too long to make. Pret staff are tested by weekly Mystery Shoppers if the service is within 60 seconds and if the drinks are served within a minute. Pret under-staffs to maximize profit, so oftentimes there is 1 barista doing coffee and 2 – 3 Team Members “busting” the queues that are lined up to the door. Hence, smoothies and frappes are an inconvenience to make, taking more than a minute.

I have worked in horrendous conditions like this many times, but it is good that customers snatch photos of this and raise the issue publicly:

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For those who don’t want to read long blog posts, here a YouTube slide as a visual:

But the list of excuses is long and typical: Ran out of smoothies, ice machine broken, not included in the offer, staff untrained and clueless, technical issues, subscribe process doesn’t work, email not recognized yada yada yada …

I worked at Pret, I know all the excuses “they” (management and HQ) want staff to give. “Technical” issues is always a classic!

Here are ONLY today’s complaints, there are many more from when the subscription went live.

Before I go into all the screenshots of customer complaints on social media, here is a link to the Advertisment Standards Authority (ASA) for complaints on false advertisement. ASA slapped Pret already regarding Pret’s “natural” claim. Most people haven’t even noticed yet that Pret took (had to take!) off the word “natural” from all their signage and packaging. I explain in detail here on: Pret A Manger – Ready to (ch)eat

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For complaints on Pret’s false advertisement go to:


https://www.asa.org.uk/make-a-complaint.html

It takes less than 2 minutes.

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NOT Natural

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Here’s a SPOILER Alert:
There has always been this cold war between shops and HQ. Head Office comes up with deals for customers, and shops have to foot the bill. HQ collects the £20 subscription fees directly for Pret, but the shops have to foot the bill and pay for the smoothies, frappes etc. to give away for free. And when shops refuse to do the frappes/smoothies under excuses of broken machines, it doesn’t bother Pret HQ because they have the money and it is only the customer who suffers the “loss” in not getting the promised product.
Furthermore, Pret tries to hold on to monthly fees by making it 1. hard to cancel the subscription and 2. even when customers manage to cancel in time, Pret continues to withdraw money from customers’ bank accounts every month.
More on this here: Pret A Manger Subscription Rip-Off.

A little slideshow on customer complaints, many screenshots are also underneath the slideshow. May need wifi to view slides. Due to the new WordPress editor, slideshow does not run automatically but has to be clicked manually or slide left/right. All screenshots are also listed underneath:

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UPDATE: February 2021

Pret announced recently that from April 2021 on the smoothies and frappes will not be part of the subscription anymore. Customers launched a social media outcry, with more threatening to cancel the subscription etc. Now Pret announced the smoothies/frappes will remain as part of the subscription. The text they use is the typical Pret brainwash, quote: “We’ll never be too proud too admit when we’ve got it wrong …”

This is supposed to show some humility and being close to the customer while in reality Pret not only keeps ignoring customer complaints about hardly being able to find shops that DO the smoothies/frappes, but it now continues as new complaints emerge of yet AGAIN no iced drinks available in shops.

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One customer days ago sees it with more humour:

Link

And only some of the many early complaints with the different excuses why shops don’t do smoothies/frappes:

The following shop ran out of practically everything! 😀

etc. etc. …

INSTAGRAM

FACEBOOK

Endless” blended smoothies:

This would go under false advertisement, no?

If many customers organize and swamp Prets at the same time like a flash mob, and show staff and especially Managers this false advertisement of “unlimited” and “endless” smoothies/frappes etc. – it should be interesting what may happen! Take a video camera y’all! 😀

Another YouTube slide on how customers struggle to cancel the subscription, and if they managed to cancel, Pret STILL withdraws money for months. Customers have to cancel the direct debit as well!

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UPDATE on Pret doing data collection now:

In a NY Times article CEO Pano Christou speaks open about data collection, quote:

»The other benefit of the subscription plan is the chance to gather more data about its customers, who will scan a QR code each time they use it. “Pret have been very, very late adapters to this,” Mr. Christou said. Panera, he said, has a database of more than 40 million customers across the United States. … I think the richness of data today gives you an opportunity to learn much more about your customers”« Link

Pret started to collect customer data around 2018.

The most common way they collect data, which is a very slow and long process, is via Social Media. Customers who have a complaint or even complementing Pret, are asked to DM/private message Pret. In the DM then customers are lured into giving their personal details. Some customers get cheap free vouchers and in return easily give their data to Pret.

In an interview former CEO Clive Schlee laughs embarrassed being asked about this, when a friend of his, being surprised about this, mentions that this is the first time that Pret asks for customer data. The interviewer Mario Bauer, being perplexed about Pret’s new data collection, says to former CEO Clive Schlee, »It was the first time when I now went to your website to check your latest blog entry that I was asked for my mail address to register. It’s the first time that I felt Pret kind of tries to get customer data, because so far there was no loyalty program …«

If you watch Clive Schlee’s facial expression and body language, when Mario Bauer starts mentioning that he “ felt Pret kind of tries to get customer data” Schlee looks embarrassed and “caught in the act” of now wanting customer data in any way Pret can get their hand of it.

With the subscription there are MANY complaints on Social Media that makes it hard to unsubscribe, or when they unsubscribed Pret still continues to draw money from bank accounts etc. This technical “glitch” doesn’t look like a glitch, but a desperate attempt to keep drawing money and make unsubscribing challenging.

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UPDATE 23.04.2021 NEW video on a systemic issue with McDonald’s ice cream machines broken down and the disgusting reason behind this.

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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.


Interview:


Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.
©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.