Tesco says sorry over online Christmas delivery queues

Tesco has apologised after its grocery website was overwhelmed with shoppers trying to book delivery slots for Christmas.

Customers complained they had been forced to join an online queue for hours after it opened bookings for Christmas week for shoppers who had signed up to Tesco’s delivery pass subscription service.

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The retailer said it had also paused sign-ups to the delivery pass service “to help support our existing and vulnerable customers because of the high demand for online slots”.

Messages on Tesco’s official Twitter account told shoppers the website had suffered from a “technical issue” that it was trying to fix.

“We’re sorry if things take a bit longer than usual,” Tesco said. “We’re experiencing a huge volume of customers who are trying to book a slot at the moment.”

It said it was “using a virtual waiting room to help us manage the flow”.

It added: “With thousands of customers trying to do the same thing, there is a rather long wait, I’m sorry. We’re doing everything we can.”

One shopper tweeted: “Over 2 hours of waiting now, been allowed in 3 times but each time it throws me out. I’m on the priority list for myself and also for my elderly neighbour. Help me out Tesco!!!!”

Another wrote: “After almost a 90min queue all the slots I wanted were gone, I settled for something and then it crashes at checkout with a “oops something went wrong”.

The problems on Tesco’s website are the first sign of the huge pressures for online delivery services expected in the run-up to Christmas as the November lockdown in England and fears of the virus keep shoppers away from actual stores.

The online grocery specialist Ocado had said its Christmas slots were already booked out but more might be made available in early December. Sainsbury’s will release its delivery slots on 29 November but those signed up to its delivery pass service can book theirs from 22 November.

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