Sunday, 24 October 2021

Waitrose sold me mouldy custard

A PENSIONER who found black mould in a pot of custard bought from a supermarket is still waiting for a proper apology and explanation two months later.

A PENSIONER who found black mould in a pot of custard bought from a supermarket is still waiting for a proper apology and explanation two months later.

Roy Cooke spent £1.63 on a pack of four low-fat Ambrosia custard pots at Waitrose in Henley in early September.

The pack had an expiry date of March 2014 but when he peeled back the foil lid of one pot it was covered in what looked like black plastic.

Mr Cooke, 80, who lives in Henley, said: “I was looking forward to enjoying this with some fruit cocktail to round off a very enjoyable meal of lamb cutlets, my favourite.

“What did I find? It was what looked like a black plastic wrapper or bag of some kind, which was the last thing I was expecting.

“Closer examination showed that when a spoon was used to lift this mess, the custard revealed underneath looked and smelled perfectly normal.

“A tentative taste confirmed this was so and seemed to indicate that whatever the black stuff was it seemed to be inert plastic and not something nasty.”

He promptly replaced the lid and tightly wrapped the pot in cling film and took it back to Waitrose.

Mr Cooke received an apology from staff at the complaints desk and was refunded £3.26p, twice the cost of the pack.

He says he was also told that there would be an investigation and he would be sent a letter of from Waitrose and the manufacturers confirming this but it never arrived.

Mr Cooke said: “Nearly two weeks later I returned to Waitrose and remonstrated strongly about the complete lack of contact promised by themselves and the manufacturer.

“The same evening, I did receive a phone call from a Waitrose spokeswoman assuring me that they had contacted the manufacturers who told them it was probably mould caused by a pinhole in the lid and that they had promised to send a letter of explanation and a £10 voucher within the next few days.”

But more than two months after his purchase, Mr Cooke is still waiting for a letter.He said: “With no contact whatsoever from either party, I believe I am fully justified in complaining elsewhere.

“It seems that a pensioner in poor health and existing solely on a state pension does not matter to these people who glibly make promises that they have no intention of keeping and can be ignored and brushed aside without a thought.

“In my day we were brought up to keep promises, something that does not seem to matter in this so-called ‘modern’ day and age.”

Mr Cooke, who has lived in the town all his life and attended the former Henley Grammar School, worked as a typewriter technician and served in the RAF for four years as an air frame mechanic. He added: “I think every young person, male or female, should do national service. It would do them a hell of a lot of good.”

A spokeswoman for Waitrose said it had been unable to to contact Mr Cooke because it didn’t have his postcode.

After being given the correct postcode by the Henley Standard, the supermarket said it would send him a letter of explanation and a voucher.

A spokesman for Premier Foods, which makes Ambrosia custard, said: “If we get any consumer complaints we ask for them to come back to us directly but Waitrose seems to have been in the middle of this. What we do in the first instance is to apologise profusely and ask for the product to be sent back for us to investigate.

“We have our own lab and facilities so know why these problems occur and why they are not occurring in other products. We take great pride in our products and the quality of them.

“It is very disappointing to learn that Mr Cooke has had a bad experience and we will apologise to him and he will be compensated for the inconvenience.”

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