Do you return a purchase if it has scanned at a higher price?

Purchased two bakery items on sale and when I got home I noticed the amount charged was $6.00 more than I should have paid as they were on the mark down shelf. So as I had this happen to me a couple of years ago and was not sure what to do I rung the 1800 number and was given a code to use when I returned to the shop and told I could have a full refund on the product. So this time I rang the 1800 number again and was again given a code to use so when I returned to the shop with the docket and the empty packaging with the price on it. The girl at the counter, raised her eyebrows and then went to process the refund and then returned to give me the price difference between the price I paid and the sale price, so I said I was entitled to a full refund and she said not I was not, I then said I have rung your head office and they have given me a code to use to ensure I get the refund. Well she was not nice, said she needed to ring the manager, and made me wait for 5+ minutes - then the phone rung and the manager decided that it was not worth his time to fight with me over this and told the staff member to refund the full amount, she was very unpleasant and did this whilst shaking her head in disgust. Just wonder want Ozbargainers think of this - the store was Coles.


  • +1

    As far as I know (and I've seen this happen in practise), below policy should apply at Coles. Not sure if the exlusions will apply, the last two lines of the code.

    The Item Free Policy
    If the price displayed at the checkout or on the customer receipt is higher than the shelf price, the customer is entitled to receive that item free of charge.

    The Shelf Price is the price of an individual item that appears on a shelf label or shelf price label.

    The Shelf Label or Shelf Price Label means the sign or label showing the price of individual items at the place where the product is displayed for sale to the customer.

    The item free policy does NOT cover goods that are “item priced”.
    The item free policy does NOT cover goods where the shelf price is $50 or greater.

    • -1

      policy no longer operated at Coles and the scanning code of practice is a very large document containing far more than this

      • It worked for me last week when a discounted product scanned as full price at self checkout. I got a pair of deodorants for free.

        • +4

          Works at Woolworths too. I stocked up on multivitamins for the kids that were $15 off but scanned at full price. They only gave me the first (of 4) free though, the rest at the half price they should have been.

        • That's the rule alright! Perfect example.

        • Yeah they changed it a while ago
          Used to be the entire mispriced lot was free.
          I still remember we got like 8 bottles of shampoo free, and then one day we caught out a mispricing and it was only the first one free.
          Cause of mispricing: Store worker changed the price for "Tomorrow's Special", we scanned the shampoo out, and obviously it wasn't changed it. Free shampoo!

  • +3

    When I was studying I worked part time at Target.
    You'd get people all the time that demanded products for free when it scanned wrong - no matter how expensive the item was.
    They never seemed to understand the difference between consumer law and the store policy of a completely different shop that they weren't in.

    That doesn't really help you though.
    These days I probably wouldn't bother pushing to get the refund (it was a couple of dollars, you got a product for it and they aren't deliberately trying to rip you off - there is no conspiracy to have things scan higher than they should) unless the person at the counter annoyed me - then I would try to be a really big pain for them.

  • +3

    From my experience shopping at coles and from what I've gathered from your post (I could be wrong):

    The bakery items had a "reduced to clear" sticker with reduced price printed on the sticker but no barcode on this sticker. The original barcode remained on the packaging.

    The person at the checkout didn't see the reduced sticker and scanned the barcode for the original/full price of the item. Had the checkout person seen the sticker they would have needed to input the price themselves.

    Therefore this is an operator error and you are not entitled to have the item for free but are entitled to have the difference refunded.

    • +1

      Maybe it's those 2 for 10 bucks etc type of mark-downs, they don't usually have a reduce to clear label. The price difference would be deducted automatically in the system I think, could be wrong. The counter lady have no reason to be rude as this is between the company and it's customers.

    • +3

      reduced price stickers are routinely placed over the barcodes at Coles -store policy

  • +6

    I return stuff if it scans wrong, but make a habit of checking my docket on the way out, as it is a pain to head back later.
    Once when I got a deli item priced wrong (chicken legs labelled as breast fillets) which was worth around $10, once when nicabates were on sale but scanned at full price ($30!) and reasonably often for 'reduced to clear' stuff.
    I am polite, but insistent. At the service desk they have the '1st error free' policy posted, so I have pointed to that a couple of times.

  • +4

    Rightly or wrongly, the Coles lady just seems rude. I'd go else where just to see a smile while I get baked goods.

    • +1

      There's a difference between "not nice" and "rude" though, just because someone isn't nice and doesn't solve our problem for us doesn't mean that they are rude.

      • +15

        Shaking your head at a customer is pretty rude..
        I work in retail, at least go whinge about them in the backroom if you're going to do it.

        • Especially if they are actually rude.

  • That's appalling of the staff to do that! My dad was buying cigarettes at woolies the other day and the shelf price said it was $24. The team member scanned the item and it appeared at $26. They both argued with each other about what price the girl should sell it for. After a minute, the manager walked over and said it was their fault for not changing the price on the sticker and gave him the lower price…

    My dad should have continued with the transaction then argued that it was an incorrect price and gotten a full refund. :P

    • +1

      i think that the 'scanned wrong so you have it for free' policy doesnt apply to booze or smokes

    • Holy snapping rear ends…$24 or $26 for ciggies! whoa, glad I gave up.

  • Interesting as when I rang the 1800 number the person was quite happy to give me a code to get a full refund, no mention of any other option. As I had done this once before and do recall the staff being less than pleasant about the refund, I was not telling them I had the code and I wanted to see if they would automatically give me the full refund or try and give me less. Guess I could have been more up front about it but I just wanted to see if they would try and give me the lesser amount which they did. The staff member did not feel it was right and wanted to make sure I was feeling very uncomfortable. Wrong..

    • +2

      Guess I could have been more up front about it but I just wanted to see if they would try and give me the lesser amount which they did.

      You'd have saved you both a lot of unpleasantness if you had done so.

      Whether or not her attitude was as it should have been, she probably had better things to play games with you, which probably contributed to the response you got.

      • I completely agree with this, had you just been upfront, you could have avoided the confrontation. Either way it's not like she stands to gain anything from refunding you less, she's just an employee on a fixed wage.

  • +2

    thats ridiculous she was rude from the time I walked up to the counter it had nothing to do with the fact that she was trying to rip me off.. she would know the policy I just wonder how many other people they rip off who do not know that they are entitled to a full refund.

    • She could have just been mistaken, it doesn't mean that she's trying to rip you off.

      Either way, how is that ripping off? It could have been a genuine mistake.

      Also, how was she rude, was she rude simply because you didn't get what you want?

  • I went to target one, and I got a jacket price $19 when I went to the counter it scanned as $49.

    I asked the lady at the counter that it is marked as $19 reduced she quickly called on the speaker phone and when I went to the same section all the jacket were moved to another shelf.

    I wasn't aware and she said sorry and I left the jacket walked out.

    Am I supposed to ask for the same $19 price if they were wrong?


  • +8

    I had an experience at Coles myself a few years ago. The reduced price did not scan at the checkout but it was not an operator error as it just scanned at the original price. The staff member at the service desk tried to blame the checkout operator and just give me the reduced price. I told her it scanned incorrectly, it wasnt the operators fault(the operator gets an audio signal when it is a reduced price and I never heard it either) anyway I was going to let it go but she decided to prove I was wrong … she made a big thing of rescanning the product even after I said I dont worry just give me the difference, she was so smug…anyway it scanned incorrectly again! so she had to give it to me free. A glorious moment.

    • -4

      a few years ago Coles did this - not today - new management

  • I don't know about you, but is the amount you saved really worth the cost of the phone call, cost of petrol to go to the store, cost of your time to stand there arguing, cost of the petrol to go back home, cost of time to write about it here on OzBargain and most of all the opportunity cost of being able to do something more enjoyable with your time?

    To be honest, you got your refund at the end of the day, so that's all that matters, you can't really complain about people being mean to you, she probably just did what she was supposed to do - i.e. call the manager.

    • +6

      its the principle i think. sometimes its worth it just to make a point

    • +3

      just wanted you to know that ur rude. op clearly states that the employee was rude , raising her eybrows at the OP, a customer, at the beginning of the conversation and shaking her head at the end. I'm my world this is rude. People need to remember to respect each other and treat others they way you want to be treated. You sound like someone who is concerned about being seen as a tightarse but as Coles is a supermarket, the OP probably waited until the next time they had to go shopping anyway since they returned the EMPTY packages.I'm suprised by your attitude. R you the Coles staff member who served her? it would explain some things i think.

    • I hear ya Paul. I wouldn't go back to the store for the sake a few dollars. I would just tell myself that I should have been more diligent checking my receipt when I was at the store.
      Regarding principles, the shop attendant is highly unlikely to give a damn about a few dollars worth of 'principles'.

      OP, the manager seems like s/he was being generous and yet still you go online to complain about the bad service of the floor staff?

  • +7

    coles unofficially abandoned the scanning code of practice as a cost saver around a year ago, only Woolworths honor it now, and not for much longer. Coles even took their stickers down - Coles are so bent these days that so called oz produce is chinese processed, their fresh produce is routinely near rotten,and getting through a checkout at times impossible because of staff cuts. Its amazing how low oz retailing can sink but clearly Westfarmers can do what they want because of their political employees. they're helped of course by apathetic people who mock people who try to keep the bastards honest, 'you can't really complain about people being mean to you' - the fact they profit from other peoples efforts escapes them and/or they exploit them - whatever - everyone pays in the end.

  • +3

    Often Coles staff are condescending and rude when it comes to returns and refunds. They act like its coming out of their wages. Stupid really because they get no benefit but they are risking losing their job.

    The policy is just a policy not law its often a sign on the counter with details.

    1st item free subsequent at reduced price
    Does not apply to reduced sticker items
    The staff are allowed to correct it before charging you.

    Historical cost - is it worth it? I don't return over a few $ or ¢. But if I spot it in store I do.

    • +1

      "They act like its coming out of their wages."

      Yeah I have noticed this attitude on occasion.
      I think it's ironic that some staff will spend 10 mins arguing over a $2.50 item because they seemingly believe they are saving the store money. Meanwhile it's probably a Night/sat/sunday/OT shift and they have just wasted circa $5 in wages+penalties+super as they stand there arguing with zero productivity.

      • Maybe it is coming out of their wage? Or bonus? I wouldn't be surprised with their new management that store wide bonuses might apply for reduction of wastage.

  • +2

    Here's the Code of Practice For Computerised Checkout Systems In Supermarkets
    The Code of Practice is only for supermarkets (ie not Target), doesn't cover tobacco, doesn't cover liquor, or anything more than $50.

    I have returned a purchase that scanned at a higher price many many times. It's not about trying to get any freebie. It's just a matter of principal. The Code of Practice is there for a reason.

    Last week, at my local Coles, the leg of lamb was reduced to $7 per kilo. There was a sale sign right next to it. But the price on the labels of all those leg of lamb were more than $10 per kilo. I questioned the manager, who happened to just walked pass, and told me the sales tag shouldn't be there, he took the tag off and told me I could still get the lamb for $7 per kilo. At the check out, they reduced it to $7 per kilo. And … here's the best part of the story… the leg of lamb was 2.85kg, they couldn't do 2.85 x 7 at the check-out register, so they only charged me 2 x $7. So I bought that leg of lamb for $14! While its price on the label was $30+. (I did kicked myself for not buy the one that weight 2.99kg)

    My point is, always check the price tag on the shelf, and always check the scanned price at the check-out, and get what you are entitled to.

    • +2

      coles don't follow this anymore at management directive …………. rely on dealing with individuals by time wasting and unpleasantness - coles customer care 2013

      • Given the amount of 'free' stuff I've got from Coles due to their barcode errors, I can see why Coles dumping those rules.
        However, those are the rules of ANRA (Australian National Retailers Association), which Coles is a member of. I don't think it's up to Coles to follow or not to follow. Coles may have taken the sign down, but the rules still apply.

        • +1

          Only if the rules are enforced and who is enforcing them? cause ANRA ain't

  • Hmmm I bought a big ol bag of rice a few weeks ago that was on clearance ($20 down to $15). As it was the last thing on my docket It was pretty obvious as I was walking away that I was charged the full price. Did a quick uturn and within 2 minutes had a free 10kg bag of rice. This was coles. Guess it depends on the store.

    • +1

      Depends on the staff member too some just don't know. Some are just oppositional

    • so staff weren't trained in the policy because that's the policy

  • +1

    After reading through the comments, I still think that OP is really just having a whinge about it all, I don't see what's so hard about acting like adults and just being rational about things.

    I might get mobbed for what I'm about to say, but I still think the points I'm bringing up are fair.

    1) You got your refund.

    From what I've read, OP has gotten his refund, had to wait for "5+ minutes" and that's about all. I don't get what you're actually complaining about apart from the fact that some checkout lady was "rude" and "not nice" to you, which brings me to my next point.

    2) It's not even a big deal.

    I don't see why you feel as though you're entitled to "niceness". Like at the end of the day, she's just doing her job, probably acting on what she's been told and from what I've read, she did the right thing in contacting the manager. Like, some people in the world just aren't nice, I'm sure you've come across millions of "not nice" people in your life.

    3) How do you know it's not a simple mistake.

    It could simply be a mistake, she might have mis-remembered the store policy, she might have just had a bad day, I don't see why you have to be so accusatory, it's not as if it's a recurring issue, you went there, you got your money back and you're still complaining. "The staff member did not feel it was right and wanted to make sure I was feeling very uncomfortable." How do you know this? That's just accusatory, I'm sure if the staff member was allowed to give her account of the story, it would have a different slant.

    4) You went there with the intention of not being completely upfront.

    "As I had done this once before and do recall the staff being less than pleasant about the refund, I was not telling them I had the code and I wanted to see if they would automatically give me the full refund or try and give me less. Guess I could have been more up front about it but I just wanted to see if they would try and give me the lesser amount which they did." That's poor form on your behalf, you should have been more upfront about it and you probably would have just gotten the refund without drama. You could have just said "I've called the 1800 number and they've said…etc."

  • +6

    'After reading through the comments' - how strange - numerous reports from different people about non compliance from Coles and you spend far too long attacking the poster. It is a reoccurring issue and just because you want to argue about because Wesfarmers pay your wages is no excuse for abusing people. Still its refreshing to see Coles aren't expected to be nice about correcting their deliberate error.

    • Firstly, I'm not associated with Coles in any way, I don't shop there, I don't work there, I've never had any association with them in the past. I do my grocery shopping at Aldi, so personally, I don't care about Coles.

      I am not "attacking" anybody, I've simply pointed out that there really is no issue here, OP managed to get his refund after "5+ minutes", which isn't even that long.

      Furthermore, it's incorrect to call this a "deliberate" error, just because there happens to be an error and it doesn't work in your favour doesn't mean that someone's out there to get you, often it's just someone making a mistake, which actually happens, like people actually make mistakes.

      I doubt that one employee from Coles, who employ thousands across the nation, is indicative of Coles in general. Even then, just one experience with an employee still says very little. For all I care, it could have been a genuine mistake by that employee, she could have just been having a bad day, she might have been taught to give certain responses - e.g. calling her manager…etc.

  • +2

    mate different people have posted the same issue - I've seen it first hand a dozen times this year standing in queues. Where do you get 1 from ? Cause your understanding of what people are reporting here does not add up - as for not attacking someone what's with the accusation ' You went there with the intention of not being completely upfront— they went to get there money back from Coles because it had effectively been stolen by Coles. keep posting mate - your employer is going to love you. and if you don't shop there how come anyone should pay you any attention? Do you even live in Australia - how exactly can you avoid Coles?

    • My first post was a direct response to the opening post.

      Either way that is not an attack, that is the truth, he went there with the intention of playing games to see whether he would get a refund, that's just a waste of everyone's time.

      Please show me your "evidence" that I'm employed by Coles, who do you think you are?

      By not shopping at Coles, I'm judging this dispute between OP and the store as a neutral person who is unbiased. Plus, I don't avoid Coles. There is a difference between avoiding Coles and not shopping there regularly, please read my posts before replying.

  • +1

    I've been told that you don't get the item free if it was a clearance price item - like the bakery items they reduce at the end of the day etc. I have received refunds for sale items that scanned incorrectly but I am always given the difference in price if it was a clearance item.

    I always check my docket as I leave the store. It's amazing how many times the price is wrong.

  • If you want cheaper and fresher meat and vegies then you should buy them at your local market. Never buy them at inflated prices at Coles and Woolworths. I have been buying my meat at the Dandenong market for the past 2 years and I save about 50% of price when compared with Coles and Woolworths. For example a porterhouse will cost about 13 dollars a kg and not 25 to 30 dollars.

  • +3

    I bought a big bag of dog food from IGA that was listed as $15 on the shelf, but scanned at $18. The tag was left on from a previous week's sale. I took it back to the service desk and received a full refund (I was surprised, because I didn't think IGA followed the voluntary code). Anyway, a couple of months later, a noticed there were weevils in the bag, so I called up the customer hotline, and they said to return it to the store. I received a second refund. I then went over to Woolies and bought another big bag of dog food that was tagged at $18, and as luck would have it, it scanned at the wrong price of $22 (again, a previous week's sale), and it was fully refunded.

    So all up, I was paid about $20 to take 8kg of dog food.

    • Lucky for Free Dog Food. .. Get Another Dog!

  • i had that happen to me at woolworth last week i got it for free.

  • Wow initially I thought you just get a refund of the price difference when u get overcharged, but I didn't know u could get a full refund! Essentially getting the item for free, that's awesome!

  • +1

    Scanning Code of Practice: The Code is voluntary

    It is a Code of Practice and is NOT enforced by Law.

    • It is not law but since they advertise it then it can probably be enforced by courts(tribunal) if someone seriously wanted to take legal action. Would cost you more than its worth though.

      Coles will give you a refund if you return the item normally. Full refund and free item when nothing is wrong with it is generous.

      There are people that just don't account for other costs I.e spending 10 hours to fight for $10 is $1 an hour and you would be better off working for those 10 hours

      Stress reputation pride and also the business can raise the price to compensate so next time you pay more anyway. They might stop reducing items and bin them if you annoy them enough

    • Woolies have it on their website as their policy: - so they are clearly bound by this.

      However I cannot see it on the Coles website, so suggests that maybe they don't follow it any more?

  • +2

    I could never understand why retail people hate following their store's own refund policy - and it seems staff based, not store based.

    Local Officeworks - 1 fellow was happy to price match + 5% off on a laser printer cartridge based on the best australian retailer i could find on Static Ice; had to get another cartridge a few days later, and the girl wouldn't budget, saying they're grey import and fake; another time got a keyboard pricematched based on a printed receipt (Ozb) and a printout from the website (that ommitted it was grey important) - I was advised by the operator that I can only do this once (fair enough), and am pretty sure she was some sort of supervisor/manager.

    Woolies - no problem in getting some meat fully refunded, as last week's sale sticker was still on the shelf (free-range chicken is a bit price… but we bought 1 of each: breast, drumstick and tenderloin - all refunded).

    But I've copped grief from that same store, with a different manager.

    The point is… WHY?! Why does this person take it personally that they're applying company policy. I used to give heaps of stuff out for free at the deli, if it wasn't up to scratch… e.g. something was close to useby last time they bought it, i'd slap a sticker on it for 1c, or double their order. Whatever - customer service was my manager's biggest focus. And this was at Woolies.

    • For me it depends how to customer treats me. If they're indisputably right, such as an old/wrong specials ticket I'll give it to them regardless.
      However, if they are rude or accusatory and are only technically right (such as the item being misfilled in the wrong spot, or the wrong tag placed in the wrong spot, or the tag technically not including the item through weight/exact type) then I will argue the point.
      At the end of the day a happy customer is a repeat customer, I'm happy to give you leeway if you treat me like a human being.

      • +1

        If they are technically right you argue.

  • +2

    I LOVE Coles/Woolies price policy. I'm crap with names and faces but I can remember every price of everything I buy. On average, items get scanned incorrectly twice a week for me. I say NOTHING. I promptly pay and make my way over to the Customer Service counter for my FULL refund.

    I've done this dozens of times both Wooilies and Coles and it has worked without fail. Even if it's overcharged by ONE cent you get a full refund. I've never even had to ask or argue. Just politely but firmly mention the discrepancy, get someone to verify and chaching$$$ !

    I see so many people getting all confused/flustered when they notice an incorrect price being scanned and asking someone to fix it on the spot etc. Bad mistake.

    As a true OZBargainer I can't wait for their next mistake. My largest full refund so far was $70 worth of salmon!!

    • As a true OZBargainer I can't wait for their next mistake. My largest full refund so far was $70 worth of salmon!!

      Nice catch! No pun intended :p
      How much did they screw up by for that?

      • +1

        It was a couple of bucks/kilo. I noticed it straight away after the guy weighed and stickered it but kept my mouth shut and promptly paid first.

        • Where was that? Woolies has a $50 limit on stuff like that.
          As to discovering a discrepancy during the transaction, if I do a price check and they're correct the checkout staff usually give it for free anyway. No point in making them line up a second time

    • +2

      That's the way you do it! I once noticed that Coles had a shelf price of $6.9/Kg of Shoulder Pork but the ticketed prices were all calculated at $7.99/Kg - Called a staff member to point out the mistake who in turn called the Deli Manager. He just ripped the Price Sticker from the shelf and said someone did not do his job right and asked me to pay the price as ticketed $7.99/Kg - I told him i was willing to pay the Shelf Price but he refused and walked away. I went to Customer Service Desk explained the situation and told them i wasn't settling for anything less than FREE because of the Deli Managers attitude. They eventually gave in when the Store Manager did not come over after he was paged on the intercom. Best Pork Roast Ever!

      Edit: BTW, i wasn't even planning on buying Pork that day :)

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