Substitution of Items on Online Order (Coles)

For those who shop online at Coles and may have asked this with their customer service —- how does substitution work on online shopping and what the basis is in determining how much is an equivalent portion?

I ordered items yesterday (25/10) for delivery today (26/10).

I ordered 1kg of Coles Salmon Fillets ($14/kg) and it was substituted a single 500g packet (I&J Salmon Portions $36/kg), originally $18..

Why isn't it substituted with an equal weight or volume of a similar product? The reason why I ordered 1kg is because I needed that much. Sure, the 500g substitute was adjusted to match the price, but it really didn't meet my needs. I'm still paying more than what I would have wanted — $14 for 500g instead of 1kg.

Similarly, I ordered 2x 500g Thomson franks ($2.50 each) — and they were substituted with 2x 375g (total 750g) Don Footy Franks (originally $3 each) — still $5 but for a smaller size than what I originally wanted.
Why not substitute with 2x of a similar size (500g) such as the Primo Dairy Thin Franks?
Sure, the Don Footy Franks cost more per kg, but I'd rather have the cheaper one (Primo $6.30 per kg) which at least has equal weight to what I originally wanted.

Overall, I feel I need to spend more to get the items I need.
To have the 1kg of salmon, I would need to buy another "cheaper" $14 packet of 500g.
To have the 1kg franks, I would need to spend another $2.50 for 375g of franks (based on the substitution prices).

(It's past midnight now, and I don't think they're up this late. I'll try to ring them in the morning)

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  • +3

    That doesn't sound correct. You should be getting the weight you ordered of new product and charged at the lower product price (or nothing at all for out of stock items and don't get charged). Not a reduction in quantity up to the value of your original order.

    Substitute items are charged at the lower of the original and the substitute price.

    Contact support tomorrow and I'm sure you'll be offered a refund. You may wish to uncheck the substitutions option in future.

    • You may wish to uncheck the substitutions option in future.

      True - I uncheck them for items that I specifically want and can't afford to have substituted.

      They're sometimes good with it though, thus I leave them on for some items.

      They substituted an 8kg bag of dog food ($17 on special) with 3x 3kg of the similar brand (3x $7).

  • thats annoying complain
    i usually get the opposite
    i ordered 4 single fresh corn, sold out, 2 got refunded and i got 2 packets (with 3 corn in each) as a sub

    then i ordered hot dog rolls, out of stock
    they gave me hamburger buns, and 2 other random buns.. weird but not complaining!

    ive gotten to the stage where i kinda wanna substitute, especially for fresh fruits and veggies lol

  • -1

    Welcome to the new world of drop shipping, where you pay for a sold out item and get to chase it up or at least try to….

  • Which state are you in to be getting Salmon Fillets @ $14/kg?

  • Update as of 9am 26/10.

    I called them up earlier.

    They offered to refund half of the cost of the salmon, since I paid the "full" $14 for 1kg and only got a 500g substitute.

    As to the franks — probably for less hassle in computing the 250g difference, they offered to refund the whole amount ($5).

    So in total, it's a $12 "discount" for me.

    And since I won't be doing any online shopping with them within the next week, I asked for the funds to be transferred back to my bank rather than keep it as store credit.

    • Good work following up. We started online shopping 4 mths ago, but with Woolies. We are yet to get a substitute greater than value paid. In fact, it is quite often lower. I order Sungold Kiwis. Most weeks we end up with the regular/green Kiwis which are much cheaper. I can't wait to return to the store to pick myself!

      Use by dates with our online order frustrate me the most. This wk our eggs were 1 week past best before (they were also sitting on the bottom of a bag chocked full of apples, oranges, carrots and other veg). Milk had next day expiry and bread/some veges a couple of days.

      • One time after click and collect placed in the boot at Coles I found the eggs, not in a bag, under a quite heavy full bag of mixed groceries. Some were broken. But another time a person tried to hand them to me through the window. Nice but defeats the purpose of the contactless click and collect.

        • Oh dear, thats terrible. I don't know how some of them got their jobs. Before lockdown, when shopping in store the lady lost control of my milk. It flew out of her hands, over the checkout and landed on the floor under the adjacent checkout. She quickly grabbed it, shoved it in a bag then stuffed it full of heavy items.

          I'd assumed she checked the carton for damage. However when I got home, the milk carton was half empty, with the rest leaked all through the boot. The stench lasted forever as it had soaked in.

  • +1

    Update again as of 1030am.

    I just checked my online account.

    They processed the refund for the whole amount(s) of the error — $14 for the salmon and $5 for the franks.

    • Winning.

  • +1

    Coles is like that, i don't know if they don't train their staff or this is their intent on the item which is out of stock.

    Clear when people order the half-price special, they should replace with the same volume or weight. But the picker/computer just replace it with a similar priced item.

    If it is coles brand everyday price it should be ok, but most people would order items which are on special.

    their system needs some works.

  • +2

    Our always works well. Sometimes buy the cheaper coles icecream and then they have to substitute the same litres of connosoir ice cream to match the volume.

    Have never been shortchanged on it like you. Weird.
    Sometimes we get upgraded steaks as well. Always a bonus

    • +2

      Yes, I think it depends on who the packers are and whether they understand what people need to make a meal and are sympathetic. I have had some good substitutions and some silly. Also, the sale of fruit and veg by item can be a problem. I purchased mandarins that were supposed to be $2.90 per kg and around 53c each. But they were unusually small and per kg, it worked out more than $4.

      • Haha one time we ordered three mandarins. 3 bags of mandarins came in the order 😂
        But yeah the only downside is you can’t pick your own fruit. It’s mostly good but I’m a bit picky on the ripeness of the bananas

        • I once ordered a 4kg bag of potatoes at Woolies and got 1 - not 1 kg but one potato. I need some of your luck.

          • +2

            @Yola: Your comment made my day haha

          • +1


            I once ordered a 4kg bag of potatoes at Woolies and got 1 - not 1 kg but one potato.

            That is just incredible :-) Must be the packer's off day.

  • +1

    I've been ordering woolies/coles online for a few years now.

    In the past both coles and woolies were fantastic with substitutions but now I noticed they do to me what they did to OP
    The problem is I need some items so I select substitute

    Often I get the I order like for eg 2kg cold powder on special its sold out they give me 1kg for the same price
    Or I order the 4kg potato and I get 1 2kg of different brand for same price
    I ordered 3 lemons and they substituted with lime I thought at least give me lemon juice or one of those bags of lemon

    Most of the time I am happy with substitutes.
    Woolies lets you write comments so I specify what I would accept and tell them not to provide anything else just refund it

    On another note why do only coles have the cheap delivery slots ($2 and $4)? I'm ordering solely with coles now due to that. Woolies is losing alot of business as I order for my neighbour as well.

  • Yes, the Woolies ordering system with comments is much better, as well as being able to use GC's and the points you have earned. The Coles $2 delivery is great, I have used it a few times. Wish they would both copy the good things about each other.

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