A recent price guarantee scheme by leading supermarket Asda has caused headaches for their IT Consultants and advisers as the website software running their system incorrectly calculated the price of competitor products generating vastly inflated vouchers for customers.
The Asda Price Guarantee Scheme offers vouchers to customers if supermarket competitors prove to be cheaper. The system used for the scheme is operated by the price comparison website MySupermarket.com on behalf of Asda. The supermarket promises to be 10% cheaper than rivals on a comparable basket of shopping. Customers are required to enter their Asda till receipt details into the Asda Price Guarantee website in order to check if they are entitled to a discount voucher. Overnight prices are checked on competitor websites to ensure that the system is kept up to date.
However an accounting practice whereby supermarkets discount prices to a few pence for discounted product lines meant that the system was capturing these 1p and 2p prices just the same as it was all the other prices. The glitch could have cost Asda hundreds of thousands of pounds. MySupermarket.com have indicated that the Asda Price Guarantee system is wholly owned and operated by Asda and further that they are not responsible for setting prices on the system. Asda have appointed an independent audit team to monitor prices and ensure that future errors don’t occur.
Although in this instance there appears to be no indication that the errors were caused by the MySupermarket.com IT developers the case serves as a useful example as to how errors in IT systems can lead to very significant losses for clients. A professional indemnity insurance policy would provide cover for the IT Consultants and Website developers. The policy would cover their legal defence costs (which are likely to exist at the outset when allegations of blame are being made) and any compensation payments up to their cover limit (limit of indemnity).
Our Professional Indemnity Insurance for IT Consultants is available either online, where you can compare quotes from leading UK Insurers, or by contacting our office.