Belfast Telegraph

Consumer: Knowing the right thing to do when things heat up

By Claire McNeilly

When is a microwaveable item not microwaveable? Answer: when it melts in the microwave. However, as one woman recently discovered, "microwave safe" doesn't always live up to its billing.

It was lunchtime and she'd brought soup – which is definitely microwaveable – to heat in a plastic lunchbox, which the label promised was also microwaveable.

But the moral of this story is: don't believe everything you read.

What should've been a tasty snack became an inedible plastic grave of a meal after the 1.5L Tesco round Klip Fresh Bowl caved in.

And it wasn't very appetising when what she had planned to eat was served up in a collapsed container. The still hungry and now irritated Belfast professional had been on an economy drive and this episode didn't help her mood.

She retained an appetite for justice, though, and that's where the Belfast Telegraph stepped in.

The customer said that she had bought the lunchbox – "freezer, microwave and dishwasher safe", according to the supermarket's own website – for around £2 at Tesco on the Castlereagh Road in east Belfast.

This newspaper told a spokeswoman we were concerned about products being sold that clearly weren't fit for purpose.

The complainant, who asked not to be named, said her immediate response had been to throw the now useless container in the bin.

"It wouldn't have been worth the petrol money to bring back a £2 lunchbox to the store where I bought it," she said.

"To me, a spoilt lunch isn't the issue here. The bottom line is, I only bought this product because the sticker on it said it was suitable for microwaves.

"I don't want other people to make the same mistake and waste their money on an item that doesn't do what it's supposed to," she said.

A spokeswoman for Tesco said: "This product has been tested and is microwave safe, but in the light of what's happened we will be investigating this."

If you have a problem with a product you purchased, here's what to do:

* Take photographs of it.

* Contact the company's customer services department and outline what's wrong.

* Return the product with a letter of explanation.

* If you're dissatisfied with the company's response or how your complaint has been dealt with, then telephone the Consumer Line on 0300 123 6262 or email www.consumerline.org.

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So, what's your story? Let us know if you have any consumer concerns. Contact: cmcneilly@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

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