Waitrose has been warned it is making a “big mistake” by introducing a delivery charge which could cost customers £156 a year.
The grocer will bring in what it called a “fair charge” of £3 per order from September 9.
Of the UK’s major supermarkets, only Iceland will continue to offer free deliveries.
Although Waitrose thanked shoppers for their “loyalty” when it announced the fee, some called it “quite a leap for loyal customers”.
“I’ll be swapping my online orders to @Morrisons or @Tesco now,” food blogger Karen Burns-Booth tweeted.
“What a shame, you’ve totally let down people who rely on online deliveries or who find it difficult to travel.”
Another shopper claimed: “We have a weekly delivery which now means our shopping will cost an extra £156 a year.”
I’ll be swapping my online orders to @Morrisons or @Tesco now – what a shame, you’ve totally let down people who rely on online deliveries or who find it difficult to travel to the nearest @waitrose supermarket https://t.co/1J1GgZCvOB
— @Lavender and Lovage (@KarenBurnsBooth) September 2, 2021
@waitrose just received your email on £3 charge for home delivery. We have a weekly delivery which now means our shopping will cost an extra £156 a year. Quite a leap for loyal customers.
— Inthewalledgarden (@ellecalendula) September 2, 2021
While most supermarkets charge delivery fees, some offer a cheaper subscription rate.
Tesco orders cost £7.99 a month, for example, while Ocado’s “smart pass” is £8.99 a month.
Waitrose has “no immediate plans” to introduce a monthly charge, despite its popularity with social media users.
One South London shopper, who was “not impressed” by the £3 fee, told Waitrose to bring in “a pass like Ocado”.
“I know most of the other supermarkets charge but they also offer delivery passes to reduce the cost per week,” said another customer.
“Will you be doing this please?”
@waitrose not impressed by your introduction of a ‘small delivery fee’ – I don’t live near your stores and do not drive so am penalised for wanting to shop with you. You should do what the others do – and make certain slots less or free if you spend £x, or have a pass like Ocado.
— Clare Donachie (@ClareDonachie) September 2, 2021
Hi @waitrose I’ve just had an email about a new £3 delivery charge. I know most of the other supermarkets charge but they also offer delivery passes to reduce the cost per week. Will you be doing this please?
— Sharon 💙🧡 (@f0ll0wy0urheart) September 2, 2021
You say you're the last supermarket to add a delivery charge, but the others have ways to avoid it, usually a spending threshold. You will have one for collection, but you should do one for delivery too. Or copy Tesco's monthly scheme which offers other things like priority slots
— Alison 🌈 ❄🇪🇺 ⚫ (@AliceMerray) September 2, 2021
“From 9 September we’ll be introducing a £3 charge for Waitrose.com deliveries,” a Waitrose spokesperson said.
“Like other supermarkets, we believe this is a fair way of charging for grocery deliveries, reflecting the work that goes into picking, packing and delivering customer orders.”
They added that Waitrose’s collection service was still free on orders above £40.
It is not the first time the supermarket has courted controversy with its delivery changes.
Waitrose was accused of “poor customer service” in April when it stopped dropping off newspapers before 3pm.
Although the retailer claimed the newspapers often did not arrive in time for earlier slots, multiple customers said they had had “no problem” with their orders.