Coles Self Service Machine Ate My $50, but Did Not Detect I Had Inserted It

I went to the self checkout at Cles, inserted a $50 bill and the machine ate the bill but it did not detect that I had inserted in.

The staff was not helpful. The manager on duty said if the money was put in then the machine would have detected it. I asked her to look at the cameras and she responded by saying that i was in a blind spot and the cameras cannot see me putting the money in.

I work in the shopping centre, I was in my uniform as I just finished work. The staff made it such a scene that other customers were looking and it made me feel very stressed and embarrassed. I was 33 weeks pregnant and the situation caused me to be very upset.

The situation was resolved following day as the store manager reviewed the security cameras. However I did not get a apology at all . Then I went in store to complain to another manager. He said he would follow up on the situation but he never actually got back to me. I then submitted an online feedback, where response was sorry, have contacted staff and trained them etc.

I noticed that Coles have a promise on price scanning where you can get a free product just because it is scanned wrong, yet Coles "stole" my $50 for the night and I have not been offered any compensation or reimbursement for my wasted time and emotional stress

Thoughts ?

Poll Options

  • 81
    I should be offered a compensation
  • 558
    I should accept the written apology and do nothing else

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  • Why didn't they take your details and wait for a machine count at the end of the day. So many dodgy people around, your lucky the staff must have been not so experienced.

    • "The situation was resolved following day as the store manager reviewed the security cameras" They possibly did? Don't see any other reason t o do that unless prompted?

  • +1

    As others have said, you won’t be offered or get anything. Just do yourself the favour and try to forget and relax, boycot coles if it makes you feel better, and understand people can just be shit. Life.

    Personally, when I worked for my family store I wouldn’t let a customer first feel such a way and would offer something if a staffer mistreated. But coles staff just do a job and don’t give two hoots if you come back or not. So let it go

  • Sorry you had to experience this OP. Sounds like the staff should have handled it better. While Coles should give you a genuine apology, I think it's better to move on from this as it is unlikely Coles will do much.

  • +2

    Don't you have more important stuff to worry about?

  • +5

    American I assume?
    I thought so at first when I saw you calling them bills, and wanting to sue for compensation for in reality a small issue in the grand scheme of life.

    • Wanting them to not steal your $50 and to not treat you like a criminal is entitled?

      • +1

        It wasn’t stolen and OP wasn’t treated like a criminal. Get over the drama sensationalism. Coles didn’t go out of their way to set up a machine to fraudulently take money off people and OP wasn’t detained and arrested.

        And I have no doubt that the store staff were treated just as poorly by an entitled customer. You were not there and we have not heard from the Coles employee on their version of how they were treated. You are basing your whole diatribe on what OP version of the events were. Good way to remain impartial.

        As for entitled; as soon as someone mentions anything that is irrelevant to the current issue, then they are acting entitled. ie, What does being pregnant have to do with the note acceptor malfunctioning? The only reason being pregnant would have been mentioned would be to gain some form of leverage. That’s top of the list of how entitled people operate.

        • +1

          Op suffered because of Coles mistake. Shouldn’t Coles suffer their own mistake?

          • +2

            @2022: Coles didn’t make a mistake. A note acceptor machine made a mistake. That’s the problem with machines and electronics. Sometimes they just don’t work properly. And OP’s note certainly wasn’t “stolen”.

            And just how should Coles suffer? They went to the trouble of going back over footage and checking. When they found out the machine failed, they refunded OP. Coles don’t make the note acceptors in their machines, so how can you label it as “their mistake”?

            They have lost already. They have a pissed off customer who is unlikely to return in the near future, and if they do return, OP won’t use the self checkout and tie up more valuable human resources instead. Coles also has to wear the brunt of armchair #hashtag anarchists getting all butt hurt over them “stealing” money. It may turn off 1 or 2 people for a few weeks and that would cost them money.

            So, just how much of a suffering does Coles need to suffer over a broken machine, that they didn’t make, that ate a $50 from a customer that was returned the next day. How much suffering would you leverage onto Coles? All over a mistake made by a machine they probably don’t even own…

  • +5

    OP - go and eat all the free fruits on a daily basis. That'll teach them.

  • +1

    Similar thing happened to me when I went to top up my Go card (Queensland public transport card) at the machine, ate my money but didn’t add credit to my card. Had to go through hoops to get that $50 back. I never got an apology, but I felt satisfied that I won against the machines…

    For now

    • It annoys me these type of machines don't always give receipts, if I charge it at a store at least I have proof…

      A bit unfair to have no credit when you take a trip and have to fork out more.

      I try to get my card charged at the nearby convenience store as I have proof if anything goes wrong(wasting time fighting a fine from inspectors would piss me off).

      • +1

        If it doesn't register the cash inserted, it's not going to give an accurate receipt either…

        • +1

          Depending on the type of machine(in the comment above I was referring to a metrocard machine)the card itself or the balance transfer can fail independently of the processing of cash transaction…..sadly.

          But yeah the receipt may prove just as useless if it decides it does not like you :P

          • +1


            the card itself or the balance transfer can fail independently of the processing of cash transaction…..sadly.

            That's a rather ridiculous design flaw….

            • @HighAndDry: Cards are the biggest weakness….after all if you damage them with wear and tear they can eventually fail(especially cracking or bending them)

              If you can charge and transfer credit from one card to another via internet or hotline it implies they must have an account tied to the card ergo an independent component which can invariably be susceptible to error…

  • +1

    …coles should at least offer a couple of tins of baby formula for the 'emotional stress' caused by this hugely embarrassing situation :D

    • +2

      …..then sell it to china and make a fortune????

  • +1

    Offer a lawyer $50 to run your case and that should answer your question.

  • +1

    TIL don’t use cash in self service checkout machines

    • +1

      A Coles gift card bought at a minimum 5% discount with a Qantas FF earning credit card during a bonus point promotion should have been the order of the day…….obviously.

  • +4

    This isnt America where you can claim for everything and anything. The fact that they eventually reviewed the footage and gave you your money back is compensation enough.. Being pregnant, female etc has nothing to do with the situation.

    • Wut? In America they would have thrown you out of the store. Heaven forbid you're a minority and they call the cops.

      • Maybe OP rather wish they did, because then she'd DEFINITELY get a payout.

  • Woo-sah, mate.

  • The staff were unhelpful since its self serve. You need to take their pass and perform an audit of machine and cameras to determine whether you can get your $50 back. However, since it's unpaid self serve there's no compensation for the "convenience" caused.

  • Whilst I have empathy for what has happened you need to move on. Coles isn’t going to give you any compensation, just the usual response of “we’ll review our processes and retrain our staff…blah blah”. If you want to pay them back, (mind u this is probably childish), grab some trays of there prime meats (seafood is better) and give it to the checkout to say you’ve changed your mind. Just do it on occasional visits.

    • +1

      I'd feel better if instead of “we’ll review our processes and retrain our staff…blah blah” they say along the lines of "we kicked the bucket of bolts five times and told it to work properly or its the trash heap for you…."

  • +2

    PA "Dummy spit at self-checkout"

    • +3

      Clean-up required checkout aisle. Spilt milk…

      • +1

        First aid to the checkout aisle. Third degree burns…

        • +3

          Need some Anusol wipes at the self checkout area. There’s butt hurt everywhere…

  • +1


  • -3

    Just don't go back there. Woolworths is better anyway.

  • +4

    Not relevant to OP, but this happened yesterday - Asian lady in front of me gives $50 to the cashier. The check out chick (who was probably in her 80s) gives her change back. The lady creates a scene saying she gave $100. Gets a few more old Asian ladies who weren't even a witness to the transaction to support her and make a scene. Manager listens to it all. I pull him aside tell him what I saw. He reviews footage and conveys the truth to the lady. The lady just picks her shit up, wipes her tears and walks away. No apology - nothing. Wonder how uncomfortable gran felt. But she can't bitch and moan.

  • +4

    I noticed that Coles have a promise on price scanning where you can get a free product just because it is scanned wrong, yet Coles "stole" my $50 for the night and I have not been offered any compensation or reimbursement for my wasted time and emotional stress

    Thoughts ?

    Contrary to depressingly common popular belief, your hurt feelings aren't worth anything so the only thing you can validly claim for is 1 day's worth of interest on $50.

  • +12

    playing the pregnancy card

  • +1

    first post. quite a few ppl bit!

  • +4

    Why even mention the pregnancy?

    • +4

      You know why.

  • +1

    Sorry for your ordeal, but I am not too sure if they can do anymore than what they have already done.

    My take is that the machine would have recorded a cash-over at the end of the day, hence it would only appear obvious at that stage that the $50 had been wrongly taken. The staff probably could have offered that theory whilst engaging with you initially.

    Either way, it would be better, like what other says, to focus your energy and enjoy your pregnancy. All the best.

    • -1

      They should have counted up that machine immediately though, that is probably what the 'training' the staff received was.

      • +2

        It's been a couple of years since I've used a self checkout machine as an operator (as opposed to a customer) but that would put it out of action for the rest of the day.

        Inside the self checkout is a box for 5s, 10s, 20s, 50s and 100s and then a 'cash box' (forget if it had a more proper name).

        To count the money there is a function you run where it counts all the money in it then transfers it to the cash box, the cash box can be removed and opened up somewhere like their cash office or taken away directly by armaguard. It also prints out a receipt with everything it had in it.

        Now that you've potentially identified the extra 50 to get the cash back into it you have to feed it in the note acceptor slot like a customer.

        Fun. Also given these things can hold thousands of dollars each, I'd be surprised if Coles staff are allowed to remove the cash box during trade hours for safety reasons.

        • +1

          Fun. Also given these things can hold thousands of dollars each, I'd be surprised if Coles staff are allowed to remove the cash box during trade hours for safety reasons.

          Yeah exactly. That'd be like expecting a bank clerk to open up an ATM that eats a note or dispenses the wrong amount. There are VERY strict procedures (for very very good reason) in how cash is dealt with by staff. And 99% of the time it's "No, you can't."

  • I rekcon you can sue Cole's for a couple of million… Oh wait, this isn't America

  • +5

    Not sure I understand the pile-on that's happening here.

    Customer : I'd like to purchase something – here's $50
    Business : Thanks. Don't leave without paying.
    Customer : Umm… I paid you.
    Business : Computers don't make mistakes.
    Customer : ???
    Business : You can't prove that.
    Customer : ???
    Business : Oh alright. Sheesh… Yeah you paid us. You can take your stuff now.
    Customer : How about an apology. You basically ruined my day.
    Business : Soz.
    Customer : At other times you give people a freebie… what do you think OzBargainers..?
    OzBargainers : How dare you hold a business to account.

    • -8

      I logged on and will keep logging on every 24 hours just so I could down vote every single pseudo-Ozbargainer troll who defended Coles here. Coles was wrong in how they treated the customer and you all attacked the victim? Must be some alternate universe

      • +3

        They gave the money back and apologised. What more do they want?

      • I'd love to have absolutely nothing else going on like you…

  • +3


  • +1

    From the looks of this, things can go wrong regardless, is just how coles could have handled the situation better to give better experience for their customer. Once the money has been refunded, case closed no further compensation is required. Everyone happy and learned from the experience.

    • +1

      They would do better to have some way to rectify a situation in a more timely manner…

      Some people are of the opinion that we don't think Coles was at any fault, but the reality is that the cashier or attendants themselves have limited power and yelling at them does no one any good. The manager should have the ability given to them to action a response in such cases even if a audit of the machine was not possible at the time(If it happened multiple times during a shift it becomes a bitter hassle, no?)

      A question I have is can a Coles location check their security footage on shift or can that only be actionable after store hours?

      This would of saved a lot of hassle later. The situation sounds like not only the OP came to be short of $50, but I presume had to fork out extra to pay for the groceries or had to leave empty handed…. I can imagine this wasn't fun for anyone involved…. :(

  • +7

    I am constantly intrigued as to why people complain about things like this on Ozbargain or Facebook or any other online forum.

    I learnt more than 50 years ago that if you want something fixed, you start at the top, not the bottom. Sales assistants, bank tellers, so called customer service agents, et al, have no power to fix anything, and are not interested. They are not paid enough to care, simply as that.

    If and when I ever have a problem with Coles, I will be contacting Steven Cain first. He is the one with the power to get things fixed. You won't read about my problems here or on facebook etc.

    As for getting "free shit" as someone so elegantly put, I think companies wised up to that a long time ago. For all my complaints over the years, I have gained very little in the way of any freebies. But that was not my objective, getting a wrong righted was my sole raison d'etre.

    Interestingly, my very first fight (on behalf of my mother) was with Coles, more than 50 years ago. Head Office argued back and forth with me for many weeks, but I won in the end. We got nothing more than the money they owed my mother, but that is all we asked for. They even sent an area manager round to deliver it and apologise. Since then I have had success with banks, Toyota, and a few other major companies. It is stressful, but little people have to stand up for themselves.

    • +1

      Very true. People think it's wasted effort dealing with stressful confrontations like this but for me it's not just about principal. It is a valuable real life skill to try and handle these sorts of issues professionally as the customer.

    • +1

      Great advice and good outlook on the situation (and to life in general).

      I think there are a few things at play:

      1. As the little guy, you start off with sympathy from the public.

      2. As the person being wronged, you also start off as being sympathetic.

      3. BUT! The moment you want more than what you're actually entitled to - you can lose that sympathy very very fast. As this thread is showing.

  • +3

    Similar thing happened to me last week. I put 2x $20 bills but it only registered the first one. The staff saw me put it in. She still opened the machine and double checked that there were 2x $20. Eventually she grabbed another $20 somewhere and put it in the machine in place of my bill that didn't register. Usually I pay by card but I forgot it that time.

  • +1

    I do feel for OP. Customer service these days is virtually non-existent.
    It is such a pity that you had to go through so much to get an apology. That really should have been the first thing they did when they realised that they had done something wrong.
    Compensation would have been nice, but if you don't get it, move on. Don't sweat the small stuff :)

    • +3

      Who did something wrong? It was the machine that malfunctioned

      • +3

        Add to this is we are only getting OP’s version of how they were treated, not the Coles employees version. People who work in customer service usually are helpful until they are shit upon.

        Also added to this is that the average floor staff would not have the training or access to this machine that I am sure OP was moaning about. There is no use yelling at these people. It’s not that they don’t give a shit, it’s that they can’t do anything and I have no doubt that OP was told a bunch of times, “I’m sorry, there isn’t much we can do for you right now”

  • +1

    Hey OP, based on what you've described the store could have certainly handled the situation better. However, it's over now, and you've got your money back. Besides, you have far more exciting things coming your way, so don't stress over this. Good luck with your delivery.

  • +1

    Ozbargain is not very good at this from its past history, you'll have better chance on tweeter or fb.

  • +4

    DisabledUser26273673 in 3….2….1….

  • +1

    That is terrible for them to send you on your way without resolving the issue immediately.

    Disputed change happen every now and again if a worker (or the customer) makes a mistake, and if there is any doubt the till is counted up to resolve it. That is exactly what should have happened here, the supervisor should have cashed up that machine and would have seen the balance up by $50 pretty quickly.

  • +2

    What if it was her last $50 and she needed it to buy essentials? If companies are going to use automated stuff like this to save money on wage budgets it NEEDS to be perfect. "Sorry" and the money back a full day later is not good enough, they should have enough faith in their technology to back it up with some sort of guarantee or compensation.

    • +2

      You probably should mention "buy baby essentials"…extra brownie points.

      • Well she's hardly gonna need baby essentials if she's not had it yet!
        she's probably not working at 33 weeks preggo though, so money would likely be tighter than usual

        • she said she was at work?…anyway we have maternity leave in NSW

    • If OP has time to come whine on OzBargain, she's not scrabbling around on her last $50.

  • +2

    Similar thing happened to me at our local Coles store. However in our case machine turned off as soon as it took our $50 note. Immediate staff and duty manager were unhelpful and talked down on us being very animated unnecessarily. I suppose they get exposed to a wide variety of personalities and that they need to keep firm to stop the customer actually standing up for their rights to escalate the situation. Their response was identical in saying that there was no proof I inserted the money and cctv was not available and their solution was that Armaguard were the only ones able to open and count the register. Only then and IF there was a $50 surplus I would receive my money back. I asserted that it was still my money left my contact number with them to call and refund me my money. I now believe Coles actually train their managers to deny all customers' rights that is not in their service guarantee. Not very ethical Coles.

    • I asserted that it was still my money left my contact number with them to call and refund me my money.

      After which I assume:

      Armaguard were the only ones able to open and count the register. Only then and IF there was a $50 surplus I would receive my money back.

      This happened, as they said it would, and you got your money back?

  • +1

    I had a similar-ish situation at Woolies where I did a cash out for $200 on a self serve till and only got $100. Staff were helpful and I got the missing $100 from the service desk within a couple of minutes. Guess it all depends on the staff you find on duty on any given day.

    • +1

      And the customers attitude too, I think.
      Well done.

  • Eeples, I disagree with your customers attitude argument. Dispensing money is covered by Service Guarantee also.

  • You deserve the money back of course, but get over yourself with all the "emotional stress", grow up

  • +3

    I’m actually getting pretty frustrated with electronic transactions that seem to fail, yet deduct the cash.
    This is a similar thing. You lawfully paid, yet the machine is saying you didn’t.
    I’d like to see an industry code, and fines, for this behaviour.
    I’ve had money deducted from my card for a number of “failed” transactions, yet the system is insisting that I haven’t paid. This has happened, for instance, at car parking machines, Internet orders, fast food, you name it.
    It’s not right. To take ones money then deny it. And the only way I see this being fixed up is hefty fines given to the merchant or bank or terminal developer or whoever was at fault in each occasion. Sure it eventually gets refunded, but the onus is on me to prove that it was their mistake. I am not too happy about being an unwitting beta tester with my cash.

  • +2

    the manager owes you an apology. Total arrogant cow. Lies as if it’s nothing

    “ The manager on duty said if the money was put in then the machine would have detected it. I asked her to look at the cameras and she responded by saying that i was in a blind spot and the cameras cannot see me putting the money in.“

  • +1

    Customer service is awful in Australia and it's only getting worse with the race to the bottom concerning prices. Australian attitude towards work is like America's, Everything is a zero-sum game to people. Very few people have pride in working hard. I get that companies like to take advantage of good workers and I don't expect people to strive for perfection but I wish more people would at least try and do a decent job.

    Only way to get reliable service here is to pay up. At a major retailer like Coles I would expect half decent service although it's obvious with some of the major companies (not specifically Coles) it's all a show.

  • -1

    This thread has been a complete toilet. I have no idea why people on here are so intent on siding with a supermarket that made a customer go out of their way to prove they simply did the right thing.

    If coles wanted to settle it on the spot without a fuss then getting the money back is fine. No harm done. Easy. But she had to follow this up which has cost her time and quite plausibly actual money in transport.

    I don't know how you guys value your time, but having to recover a debt which should never have been incurred seems unjust to me.

    Yeah, a $20 gift card for her troubles would be pretty fair. An apology for the machine playing up and a tiny bit of 'petrol money' is pretty bloody fair here.

    She doesn't seem to be calling for a $100,000 payout. Just a token payment for her troubles and stress. You guys are bootlickers of the highest order.

    • +4

      Yeah nah, she got upset, caused a scene, and complained to every available avenue demanding compensation. Staff don't have access to open the machines. It was resolved the very next day.

      344 vs 32 currently.

      You're the minority.

      • -4

        Add me to the 32. I so hate people attacking the obvious underdog. Big Business in Australia sure has its ass lickers in this forum. Trolls you all are, and I am proudly NOT associated with Coles/Woolies/etc

        • +1

          You can't expect the machine to be 100% perfect…it probably does a better job than your ordinary checkout person counting money. Question is whether it could have been handled better…probably, so could a lot of things. OP should forget about being nitpicky and just move on- worse shit/injustices happen.

          No one here wants to lick big businesses..Sometimes you just need to choose your battles. If you lose the battle but win the war, you don't complain about the battle but celebrate the war.

          • +2

            @funnysht: I am fine with being in the minority. If you are held to the idea of being in line with the majority, your music library probably sucks real bad.

            The facts here are that she was put out by this and they were belligerent about it. If the facts are different than she has expressed then fair enough, maybe she has a part in this. The issue here is not entirely whether she could have handled something better or whether she deserved a gift card but how passionately OzBargainers jumped on this person as somehow evil.

            She got put out for something that shouldn't have put her out. Coles has deep pockets. Just give her a goddamn gift card. If she's a real ozbargainer she will get a $20 gift card and be excited that she can buy a nice 4 pack of eneloops or something.

            The way people sided with Coles here is gross.

    • I have no idea why people on here are so intent on siding with a supermarket that made a customer go out of their way to prove they simply did the right thing.

      OP wasn't forced to prove anything. It was Coles that went back and reviewed their CCTV footage, it was Coles that went back and did a count of the machine's cash, and it was Coles that refunded OP.

      What exactly did OP do other than kick up a fuss?

      • What, so the OP should have accepted that the machine ate her $50 note and walked away?

        Yeah, she as forced to prove she put the money in there at all. She was in a camera 'dark spot'.

        The OP had to recover her money. I would be furious in her situation.

        • Thanks for playing but you've missed the entire discussion.

          All OP was "forced" to do was inform the manager the machine took $50, and request in writing that attention be paid to the machine's cash recon at the end of the day, and leave her contact details for that money to be returned.

          None of that requires kicking up any kind of fuss or any stress.

          • @HighAndDry: Still a bit of a pain in the arse when you just wanted to do some shopping. Maybe the reaction is a bit dramatic, but it's still an unexpected pain in the arse. Not her fault at all.

            Still amazed at how enthusiastic people on here are leaping on the individual at the defence of the large corporation. Tons of posts here are tinged with misogyny as well.

            Disappointing thread.

            • +1

              @krunchymoses: You've got this framed wrong. If it was just OP saying that self-serve machines are trash because they mess up sometimes and save shops money and make the customer do work, you'd have a lot of people agree.

              It's the fact OP thinks they're entitled to compensation that people take issue with. It's not always a black-and-white "little guy vs big corporation" thing. The context matters.

              • +2

                @HighAndDry: Yeah I get the entitlement issue - and I do genuinely think that a few bucks on a gift card for petrol money is fair if she had to go back to the store. Despite working in the area, I doubt that would have been different for someone that lived ~20kms away from the store.

                Just give her a gift card! I don't think she was expecting an Audi for her troubles. Just a lobster for the hassle.

                • @krunchymoses:

                  I don't think she was expecting an Audi for her troubles.

                  If there was a possibility of getting an Audi I'd back her 100%. Heck - I'd shove torn up notes into self-serve machines all day long if that was the case…..

                  But yeah - there's what's reasonable, and what's entitled I guess. If she'd gotten a petrol card, no one would bat an eyelid. Heck - if she said she'd asked and gotten one, that'd be a good PSA for the rest of us. It's the fact that the shop obviously wasn't willing to give anything, and OP thinks she's entitled to it that's my (personal - other people might differ) issue with this.

                  • @HighAndDry: I reckon Coles were acting like jerks. Businesses shouldn't be held prisoner to their customers, but should show goodwill when they get it wrong.

                    We will agree to disagree here to an extent - but we also kinda agree. Bless the internet.

                    • +2


                      I reckon Coles were acting like jerk

                      Having worked in retail, unfortunately there are people who lie and try to scam the business. Some even justify it because the business can afford it and they deserve and feel entitled to it. You can't blame the staff for not 100% trusting the customer in the first second. The machine fault wasn't intentional nor malicious, though the staff could've used better words.

                      Does being pregnant make op more deserving of a gift card? Should a cancer patient get a $40 gift card instead of $20?

                      A few bucks for petrol would be nice, though it's not exactly out of the way for op. But it looks like op was seeking and expecting more than a few bucks for compensation, I think that's what people have a problem with.

                      • @Ughhh: If she is looking for a settlement she is tripping balls. And if that's the case then she clearly lives on a strange planet.

                        But yeah people trying it on at Coles or any other store would be annoying and contemptuous. Like yeah they can afford it but there's something genuinely annoying about petty scams on stores. It's a balancing act between siding with the customer and shutting down people taking the piss.

  • +1

    sigh 1st world problems. (by the way why do you feel mentioning you're pregnant makes a difference?)

    I will apologise on behalf of coles

    'Sorry….next time use efptos'

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