Has Anyone Successfully Got Anything Free Due to Scan Errors?

I have never seen it written somewhere, but keep hearing people saying that scanning error means free product, but just the first one in case of multiple quantities.

Is that true? Has anyone actually benefited from it in the last year or two?

Comments

  • +25 votes

    That's only for supermarkets, so don't expect non-supermarkets to give you free stuff if it scans at the wrong price

    • +4 votes

      I know, that's why this is in "Food & Grocery" :D

  • +34 votes

    Yes, only due to me "forgetting" to scan the item. It was my scan error.

    • -13 votes

      The person behind the register at Ikea forgot to scan something yesterday. Realised it while in the car, at the lights… looked at the receipt, $85 win.

      A better one was years ago in the Netherlands. Bought headphones, 80 Guilders worth. Paid with 100 Guilder note, got change for 250 note. The people behind the cash register were too busy chatting.

      • -7 votes

        and you were being too busy being a cheat!

        • +3 votes

          Nope… was too busy being ignored and made to feel like I was interrupting their conversation.

          • -4 votes

            @Martijn: Yeah, whatever makes you feel better for stealing :)

        •  

          I think most people on their moral high horse would be doing this too ;)

          For me depends on the store. Big stores like Bunnings or IKEA I'd probably take their mistake and be happy with that bit of luck (it's usually just like $10 worth anyway).

      •  

        Thats not the idea behind the topic.

  • +6 votes

    Yeah, always.
    It's called the scanning policy.

    Edit: For Coles it's listed here: https://www.coles.com.au/customer-service/helping-you-shop
    Woolworths do it too.

    • +5 votes

      woolworths don't seem to publish their scanning policy online. i thinks they have something to hide. and the little placard at the information desk contains bugger all information.

      • +11 votes

        I’ve received lots of free stuff from Coles. Yes, just the first item if multiples purchased. Remaining items just receive a refund of price difference.

        BUT NOTE that some Coles cashiers try to fob you off with just a refund of the price error difference and when challenged with the free item policy pretend they are ignorant of it (bullsh*t) or come up with an excuse as to why it doesn’t apply to that particular item. DO NOT accept this and demand to speak with their manager.

        Invariably (always), their manager will gladly follow the store policy on a wrongly scanned item and give you that item for free.

        My suspicion is that for some stores, Coles cashiers are briefed to avoid handing out a wrongly scanned item for free unless challenged, or worse, find an excuse to avoid giving it for free. When this happens, just ask to speak with their manager and it will be quickly sorted.

        • +5 votes

          I worked at Woolies on the service desk for years. I don't know why some employees do this, but yes, some of them will try to get away with just setting the price and not giving the item for free.

          The only exceptions for the free item as per the code of practice:
          https://www.igatas.com.au/web-assets/Retailer/Retail%20Ops/C...

          • Items over $20
          • Liquor products
          • Tobacco products
          • Sticker priced items (EG Reduced to clear)
        •  

          Could it be because the regular cashier would need to call over a senior to get it done, thereby holding up the line and just annoying everyone?

          •  

            @bmerigan: No. Not every cashier have access to advanced options like changing prices or voiding items. Only staff with supervisor privileges can do that. That's why the cashier have to call over a supervisor to do tasks that may cost the company money.

        •  

          I have had a useless Woolies manager do this to me. Since I was in a rush, i didn't argue, but everytime I go there and see the guy, I get annoyed…

          in such cases what should one do?

          • +1 vote

            @zooter: contact head office I had this happen years ago and I got a full apology and a gift voucher

        •  

          Usually when you pull them up before you paid they will adjust but if you take it back after they will refund the whole difference. Depending who you get they'll either give you cash or put it back on your card.

          Coles is better at respecting the scanning policy than Woolies, IME, but YMMV.

    • +1 vote

      ww never do it, should I insist?

      • +1 vote

        Don't bother at the cashier. Pay first then goto service desk

    • +1 vote

      Yep, I always get first item free. I've had them offer it without asking a few times, but normally when they go to change it to the correct price I ask them if it's meant to be free because it scanned at a higher price and they'll agree, but I sometimes need to wait for someone with the authority to do it. I don't know if I've only noticed on higher price items, but they always seem to be over $5. One time I had 3 different plant-based meats to try out, they were meant to be on special but weren't scanning as such, because they were all different and different prices I got them all for free.

      •  

        I had 3 different plant-based meats to try out

        And they were all disgusting. I cannot find any good ones in the supermarkets.

  •  

    Not in Aldi.

    •  

      Once… At aldi… Bought a five pack set of pillows. Scanned for the price of one.

    •  

      that is not correct. for regular scan items that scan at the wrong price you get the first one free

      •  

        What is the ALDI policy on items that have been incorrectly scanned? Are they free?
        If a regular product scans at a price higher than that displayed, you are entitled to receive the first item free. All subsequent items will be charged at the lower price.

        If a ‘special buys™/special' product scans at a price higher than the price displayed, ALDI will refund the difference between the scanned price and ticketed price.

        Thanks to link provided by WookieMonster.

        Unfortunately, bargain hunters can hardly take advantage of it for the obivious reasons.

  • +2 votes

    On the rare occasion something has scanned at the wrong price at Coles/Woolies, the checkout operator has just overwritten it with the correct price.

    • +21 votes

      pay for the item first and go to the service desk afterwards to get a refund.

      • +1 vote

        coles explicitly states a scan error is deemed to have occurred when it is scanned - no need for payment

        • +3 votes

          who's going to believe you when you start telling the checkout chick that

          • +1 vote

            @DisabledUser129779: Thats why the advice is to go to the Service desk, or just accept what the checkout chick says..

    •  

      My experience as well. I get it maybe once a year now that I think about it (where it doesn't involve clearance barcodes).

      I really can't be bothered making a fuss or getting the refund or getting it for free; I'm getting it for the price I expected to pay for it originally anyway.

    •  

      When they go to do that, I just ask isn't it meant to be free/isn't the first one meant to be free? It has always worked, but they sometimes need to get someone with the authority to do it.

  • +11 votes

    It is true and has existed for many years. Woolworths, Coles, ALDI and IGA all have a version of a scanning policy and it is generally well explained in this video. However, if you shop at ALDI, keep in mind that they only refund the difference for Special Buys products if they goof up. A few of my local Woolworths supermarkets have the policy displayed on an A4 sheet of paper at the service desk.

    I've noticed over the last couple of years that prices are scanned incorrectly largely because:
    * Someone forgot to remove the specials price tag from the shelf after the end of a previous promotion, or
    * Someone forgot to replace the price tag when the regular price for an item has gone up.

    If you are going to ask to have an item for free under this policy, the best thing to do is pay for the item first and go to the service desk afterwards to get a refund. If you do that, you won't have someone at the cash register try and correct the mistake by adjusting it to the correct price (which they're not supposed to do, but has happened to me), plus you can earn Woolworths Rewards/FSC/flybuys points on your purchase and I'm fairly sure they won't be refunded unless they ask you to scan your loyalty card when processing a refund. However, be aware of the fact that some staff members may not been trained in this policy, so don't be surprised if it takes a few minutes whilst they get a supervisor/manager, etc.

    If you're wondering, I have been refunded about $120 from Coles and $25 from Woolworths this year.

    •  

      Yikes! That's a lot of errors!

    •  

      Thank you for sharing this information Wookie Monster. I've often had price errors and unreadable oddment barcodes corrected at the self service checkout (local Woolworths). Sometimes I get it free, mostly it's just corrected. As you said the service desk will give a refund if you are willing to wait.

    • +3 votes

      +1 to pay and go to the service desk.

      Worked on the service desk for years, it's a lot easier for the staff to just change the price at the register to the correct price before you pay. Once you've paid and been charged the incorrect price there really is no grounds for not giving the item free.

      Ps. if you know how to read the tickets, they will indicate the expiry date and you can just go around finding items that are wrong. Had a lady that would do that every week.

      Shopping on a Wednesday is going to have the most errors as this is the day of the specials changeover. As the week progress, the incorrect tickets are identified and removed.

  • +1 vote

    we got a freebie one of these

    https://shop.coles.com.au/a/a-national/product/omo-ultimate-...

    the shelf price was lower than the scan price. We were just asking them to adjust it to the shelf price but they gave it to us for nothing. Bonus.

  • +9 votes

    Not in the last year or two, but I have probably got well over $1000 of mispriced (higher than the shelf price) meat in the past from Coles and Woolies. As said, pay first and then go to the service desk. Some staff are pleasant, some act like you are a thief. It makes it all the more tasty.

  • +1 vote

    We used to honour it at Coles Express, used to happen the day after promos finished.

  • +1 vote

    As per Diji1's comment it is only a voluntary code.

    It was introduced when supermarkets converted from having each individual item stickered with the price to checkouts that can scan a barcode.

  •  

    I had Coles have a special on yoghurt pouches 4 for $5. When the 4 individually scanned at $1.50 I got 4 for free and the correct special price on the rest I bought through manual override.

  •  

    Yes, when they have the cheese sales (based on weight, not boxed), sometimes they dont put the new labels on the cheese or miss a few. Free cheeseeeee.

  • +3 votes

    Had one today at Woolies actually. Some quince paste was displayed at $5 but scanned at $6. Took it to the counter afterwards and was refunded the difference.

    Then mentioned the code of practice and they eventually refunded the full amount, but it wasn't straightforward.

    The code is voluntary in terms of which chains subscribe to it, but the majors all do. You just need to insist if they 'forget' to adhere to it.

  •  

    Bought some mini chorizos at Woolworths today, scanned at $7 but catalogue said $6. Only noticed when I got home. Do I need to take the actual product back or will the receipt suffice?

    • +1 vote

      Call the store. At my local, I have done this, next time they refunded the whole amount. Keep the receipt and the catalog just in case.

    •  

      Receipt should be enough, they shouldn't need the product, just show them the receipt and catalogue
      (to save time) at the service desk and they should refund the $7.

  • +2 votes

    bought 5 of the TCL 75inch tv's when good guys priced errored them to 595 after cashback. took the screenshot to jbhifi who pricematched and gave me all 5.

  • +1 vote

    yup, bought a roast chook selling at discount from woolies. Deli hand put into a pre-priced chook bag that had a higher price on it. FREE DINNER.

  •  

    Of course a bargainer could do the following.

    When an item that scans at wrong price, say nothing to checkout chick. Have family Member/Members go into store and pick up an item each. Head to cash registers to pay.

    Then go to service counter get your refund (Only refund on 1 if you had bought more), then others do same.

    Now they will update price, deal ends.

    •  

      Only refund on 1 if you had bought more

      Well, you’ll still get refunded the difference if you bought more than 1.

      •  

        Sorry might not be clear. For the first item you get refunded the full price.

        So you buy 3 $5 items that where charged $6 you get back $8 $6 for first then $1 each on the overcharged items. In effect you have saved $5 which is the first item

        If 3 separate purchases of $5 item are charged to each member at $6 each, they each get refunded $6 which means you saved $15 (3x$5). Remember the $6 refunded is really the price of $5 plus the $1 you were overcharged so your gain on the error, is only $5

        We are talking about the savings from the error price, not overall saving from original price, which is what the topic is about. 😀

  •  

    At coles a clearance KitKat scanned for $1 instead of 50c, so the self serve staff made it free for me. Every other time I've had it happen they've just reduced the price manually.

  •  

    Yes, a $30 book for $2

    •  

      Items over $20 don't apply. #luck

      • -1 vote

        $50.

        • +1 vote

          4.1(a) If the shelf price of the item is $20 or less, the customer will be entitled to the item
          free of charge;
          (b) if the shelf price of the item is higher than $20, the customer will be entitled to purchase
          the item at the shelf price, with a discount of $20.

          Please note I mean the free item.

  •  

    If the operator puts in the wrong type of oranges and charges you, takes the money, gives you the receipt.
    You can not get them for free as it is operator error.
    Either refund or get charged the correct price.

    •  

      Once I got this for free :)

      But really this policy is supposed to be only for scanned items (ie barcodes). I am old enough to vaguely remember a time before barcodes being commonly used - going to the supermarket that used price tags - so this was supposed to placate anyone not trusting the fancy new technology.

  • +1 vote

    $10 worth of chicken kebabs for free at Woolies on last visit. The bar code had printed incorrectly so assistant waived the fee!

  •  

    Had a huge roast pork scan at $10 extra so was given for free maybe 3 years ago. Almost $50 worth. Plus in the same transaction a mop and bucket was wrongly priced so made over $80 worth for free. Cadbury chocolate blocks this year was never meant to be on special but some staff member made a huge display for it. Manager was losing her mind lol. So 3 free blocks there. All scanning errors at Coles.

  •  

    Happened twice at woolies for me.

    We got half a kilo of bacon from the deli but they forgot to change the price tag. When we got the package my friend queried the price as the maths didn't add it. We told the employee and he got a black marker and crossed out the price and marked it as free. He then told his junior to change the price tag.

    Another time I bought paw paw which scanned at the wrong price. I told the selfserve checkout staff it was wrong, that the first pawpaw is free and subsequent ones at the right price. No arguments and got a free pawpaw.

  •  

    Yes, but only 1st item is free if you have more than one of the same item.

  •  

    Huh, I didn't realise this was a thing. I used to work at BWS and we had wrong priced labels all the time (weekly sales cycle, add/remove labels etc) and people would occasionally ask me if it was meant to be free and I was like "uh, no…". I assume it isn't a policy at BWS but it very well could have been.

    • +1 vote

      It's a supermarket code of practice, which means bws gets off on that policy, as well as department stores etc too.

      •  

        Doesn't apply to alcohol generally

  • +1 vote

    Yes at Coles a couple of times when the price scanned higher than the shelf price. The checkout chic didnt care at all.

  •  

    I've actually never heard about this and have only ever had adjusted prices at the checkout when I mentioned the incorrectly scanned price. Bummer!

  • -1 vote

    Tor those old enough: When barcodes came in during the 80's there was unlimited free items who had reasonable price errors. This was to encourage supermarkets to make the system work properly. We had great fun! Washed our laundry over a year for free and gained a few extra kilos with free food.
    In the last 10 years they have changed policy. Say you have 100 items in your cart that have increased in price say by 20% and the old price was left on the shelf they give you one item for free and 99 for the old price subject to upper price limits. Nobody could stop you from arguing that you love baked beans and buy 100 cans at a time. Upper purchase limits also can seldom be legally enforced. Few months ago I found dog food what looked like below store cost and it said limit 3 per customer.I loaded 100 into 2 trolleys. The checkout operator looked at me with big eyes and I quietly said: You know the law. No quibble at Coles they let me have it all and we made good friends with many dog owners having cheap food. Of course gift cards, alcohol and cigarettes do never qualify.
    Woolworths had been a big pain with staff being rude and making me wait for semi supervisors trying to lie at me and eventually they cave in and follow the law.

    •  

      Lol at least someone in the post got a decent score !

  •  

    Bought three white onions from Woolies, but they scanned at wrong price. I knew of the policy, so went back and got more white onions before notifying the staff of the wrong price. Got them all for free.

  •  

    I think it was about 2 years ago, bought a heap of duck breasts half price. Realised as I got to car I was charged full price. Went back and got all of them for free (think about 10 packs, so around $70-$80).

    • +2 votes

      I think you’re meant to only get 1 for free and the difference refunded for the others?

      • +1 vote

        yeah that is what I thought too, but they refunded full amount. I wasn't going to argue with them.

  •  

    Over the past few years I’ve noticed an incorrect price about 10 times at Woollies, normally at self checkout.

    Call the staff over and only on 1 occasion have they given the item for free unprompted. The other times I’ve had to ‘remind’ them of their scanning policy which in every case has just resulted in them voiding the item and me just bagging it.

    This happened for a 24 or 30 pack of Coke Zero once - a sale sign had been left on an end of aisle display… 2 days later I was at the shops again and the sign was still there so picked up another free slab.

  •  

    Someone who used to work at Woolies here.

    The scanning policy for Woolies is that:

    If an item is scan at a higher price then you get the first item for free and any extra at the display ticket price.

    Scanning policy doesn't apply to:

    Daily Markdown/ Reduced such as bread, milk and other perishable good.

    Items that scan over $50.

    Items that have been misplaced or if customer doesn't read the correct ticket.

    Operator or yourself inputting the wrong product from the drop-down menu.

    So if you scan something at higher price and it doesn't fall into any categories above and they do not give you the first item for free, please remind them of the scanning policy as all staff handling refund should be train about it.

    •  

      Does anyone get in trouble for e.g. not changing tickets on time? Is anyone penalised financially or does the supermarket just absorb the loss?

      • +1 vote

        At my store, to my knowledge, nobody really cares. The wastage going on in supermarket and other problem with major supermarket is insane and it is really the consumer that absorb the loss as prices increase to cover for all these issues.

        They don't want to hold people accountable for their action as it cost more to do so than it is to just absorb it and increase price.

        I found out that a box of pizza that was ticketed at the wrong price one day, ticket at $6.49 and scan at $6.99. Told the duty manager about it. 2 days later, I can see that they still haven't fixed the issue. Grab a free pizza and only then do they remove the ticket.

  •  

    Yeah being a good little Ozbargainer I often make a mental note of any specials I buy then check the receipt outside the shop. Last time it happened was a few months ago. There have been occasions tho where it was the large bulk of a shop as I tend to buy alot of specials. So I would say it is definitely worth checking your receipts as you leave!

  •  

    I understand people make mistakes. Whoever was in charge of updating the prices. So whether I get it for free or the correct price if doesn't bother me. If I mention it and they give it to me for free, cool. If they make it the correct price, cool. I'm not out to get something for nothing.

  •  

    Happened to me for the first time in ages at Woolies two days ago! Unfortunately all the other times I think I just had the difference refunded :( if there's no signs to tell u this people just assume the difference is refunded not the total but in the store that happened there was a sign and no prompting required from me.

  •  

    Yep. Happened to me at target. Kenwood multimixer listed at 300 dollars scanned at checkout for 0 dollars. They acknowledged it and gave it to us free

    • +1 vote

      Thats the reverse of what people experience. Im surpised they honored it.

  •  

    Yes I got a high velcity fan for $40 instead of $50 because a special ticket was attached to it stating $40. Turns out the ticket price has expired and someone forgot to remove the tickets.

  • +1 vote

    Reason I asked is because twice (2 separate occasions and different products) at Woolworths the scanned price was higher, they gave some lame excuses not to honour (which suggests that they know what I was talking about). They did adjust the price though (which means they acknowledged the error).

    • +3 votes

      Have you tried submitting feedback online or discussing the issue with the store manager? It may be a little late for you in those situations, but worth keeping in mind for next time.

      The reason I mention feedback is that something similar happened to me a couple of years ago, where one of the customer service supervisors was the self-service checkout assistant and corrected the price at the checkout for one of my items, as the checkout required their approval for the item for some reason and it prompted them to double-check the price. They refused to give me the item for free and proceeded to correct the price, as their understanding was that the scanning policy only applied to items that had already been paid for and the customer retained the receipt. I submitted a complaint online after I got home, and I received a phone call from the store manager a few days later, acknowledging that I should have received the item for free in the first place, apologised for the supervisor’s actions and compensated me for the inconvenience.

  •  

    Yes ive benefitted from this about 6 months ago. I normally buy stuff when its half price and on this day they must not have updated their computers. I got everything for free as i had bought one type of item (biscuits and wafers etc). It took me 20 mins to sort out a $20 odd dollar refund. Probably worth it for being ripped off $10!

    •  

      Never worth being ripped off. Speaks about how much corporations likes to publish something and doing all manner of things to wiggle out of it.

  • +1 vote

    I got a Dymo label printer free from woolies a couple yrs ago. Normal price was $50 but was listed as $25 on the shelf. Came up as $50 when scanned, called the attendant and bam, free label printer ;). Also got a free 4 Pack of Mother cans from Coles once for same thing as well.

  •  

    Wife got free back of prawns 2 weeks back. She went shopping on tuesday night just before the half price promo finished, the staff went ahead update the price tag before the new day ticked off.

  •  

    Thanks for all the information everybody. Multiple times at Currambine woolies we've had items scan above price and they just refund the difference. We've also had double scans many times and they just refund the item we didn't buy.

    Now I know how to handle these situations, it's never been worth going back for 50c or a couple of dollars.

  • +1 vote

    The last time I got something for free was 3 weeks ago from Coles. The girl at the Service Desk happily gave me the item for free. A few hours later 2 older women at the Service Desk fobbed me off and gave me attitude and condescending tone (and carelessly tossing the bag of chips aside). Both times I never mentioned the policy and just asked to return due to scan error (and showing photo of the price tag).

    Redrock Deli chips

    I encounter scan error most commonly in the meat section when they run specials.

    The hardest part is stopping the urge to call the attendant over before you’ve paid.

  •  

    I grabbed a bunch of half price muscle milk protein powders from woolies a few years ago.

    They scanned at full price and ended up getting a heap of them free or reduced or something. Can't remember exactly what the policy was Ended up really cheap.