ALDI Special Buys - Quality Issues

Beware the specials that are cheap. I bought a cheap $50 tap mixer and ended up paying a plumber $120 to put it in then take it out again. Bought another quality tap and paid plumber again to install new tap mixer.
Have bought otber catalog specials and returned a faulty steam mop and impossible to put up and take down beach tent.

I am steering away from these specials due to my various experiences…

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We’ve heard of a few issues with Aldi specials in the past. If anyone else has any examples of good or bad experiences, please add them to this thread.

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Aldi is not alone but seems to be know for issues with product quality. As the supermarket and discount department stores chase for cheaper items to satisfy the customer’s need for a bargain, quality is often something that suffers.

We have given up buying many Aldi ‘special buys’ as many have not lived up to expectations or have had problems with. These have included

  • LED lights which have failed after reasonable short life (less than than for CFLs we have and were replacing),

  • drill bits (marked for use on steel) which appear to have low tensile strength which are okay for wood but break easily on mild steel or aluminium. Other brands we use such as P&N for a little more cost have no such problems.

If we do buy something (or family on our behalf), it is usually branded items such as (known publisher) children books as they may be cheaper than alternative sources.

The other concern I have is that a significant proportion of the clothing comes from Bangladesh and ALDI were to resisting changing their supply contracts to protect sweat shop workers. It was only last year they agreed to do something for three years starting this year. They were about 4 years behind many other Australian retailers. It is obvious from this action that their profits were more important than their worker’s interests otherwise they would have taken action sooner.

We have also found that many ‘special buys’ (Aldi branded or known brands) aren’t any cheaper than that which is available elsewhere from other retailers. For some known branded items, they are just as cheap or cheaper at other retailers, especially of the Aldi special buys happens to be an end of model being sold off. If you see a special buy at Aldi, it is worth shopping around as you may bet a better price on the same/equivalent item…rather than being caught up in the bargain euphoria while shopping.

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From a recent catalogue, plastic clothes pegs with metal springs. The springs are thin and brittle. Hang washing, wait briefly, hear the ‘ping’ of a spring breaking, and hope that half of it doesn’t fly into your eye.
ALDI were happy to refund the purchase price. The checkout operator said, “Oh, those pegs ! They’re all coming back for refunds.”
Our past experience with their special buys has been hit and miss. Some are reasonable quality, but others are junk.
I’d risk $2 on a bag of pegs, but pricey items I’ll usually steer clear of.
Rubber car floor mats were good quality and inexpensive.
Cheap garden pump was cheap for a reason - it lasted less than two years.
Garden gloves cheap, but nasty.
Seasol-lookalike for the garden was cheap, seems as good as Seasol.
LED bulbs are fine so far.
Office chair was cheap, but badly made and uncomfortable.

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A random survey of my Aldi specials:

2 years ago the bicycle helmet and cycling pants were OK and far cheaper than the ‘brands’. Were the pants as good as Bellwether (my norm)? No but OK and only 1/2 the price.

Bought a laundry cart; it is lightweight but serviceable and has been going 4 years with no worries and still looks new.

3 years ago I bought the rice cooker. It was the worst product I ever purchased. It did not cook rice as much as it exterminated it, and made a serious mess while doing it. A cheerful refund was the only good feature.

2 years ago I bought a kitchen scale. Accurate when compared against the butcher weight. Attractive design, good controls. It was and remains a winner.

I noticed every time they feature bicycle gear, rice cooker and other non-branded product specials they are different products, so any comment on any particular Aldi branded special is only applicable to that special and no other, but there are trends.

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We have bought the Computer specials when they come up. Good products and only negative have sometimes been getting replacement batteries for the laptops but now have found an aftermarket supplier that has them all at very good pricing.

The Queen size inflatable beds have been brilliant, the Dutch ovens and other cast iron cookware again have not been able to fault it.

Garden pumps first one had problems after 2 years with the controls (they refunded), 2nd one still going great after 5 years.

Tools such as spanners, screwdrivers and similar very good products.

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Drill bits meant for metal break very easily - just junk.
School shoes - bought 2 pairs, with both the soles wore very quickly, one pair only lasted 1 weekend but as some months had passed since purchase could not find the receipt - money totally wasted.
Many items would not pass the “fit for purchase” if tested, but then they never are tested.

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I recall reading an article on Aldi’s buying strategy for some lines of special buys…they use buying agents who specialising in shifting products from liquidated manufacturers or items which have been mass produced but not sold/unable to find a market. This can happen particularly in Asia by state owned enterprises who produce products (to keep their factory operating) before market is established.

Aldi buys these products very cheap (sometimes rebadges them as one of their own brands), and sells them as special buys. I also understand that the wholesale/liquated prices allow for substantial failure rates. They also count on some purchased products never been used…purchased on a whim by customers thinking they may use it, but the product remains unopened/in packaging in the customer’s home.

Such puchase methodologies cause different products being sold when one batch of special buy products being sold out. It also means Aldi has no control over quality, and accepts the special buys as is. I suppose the saying buyer beware may apply.

This is why the quailty of items can be hit and miss.

Also, such strategy produces significant waste, but one could argue the waste was already produced and Aldi is trying to find a home for those products which otherwise may never have gone to market (possibly scrapped and recycled or landfilled by the manufacturer/liquidator).

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While I have never bought one, I have heard that their Medion computers are very good value. They are a known brand, as opposed to some of the other ‘special buys’.

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Thanks for this information. It makes sense now why the products on special buys are so random and inconsistent in quality.

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… rather glad the nearest ALDI is 15 hours drive from me in some ways :wink:

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A friend of mine bought an Aldi induction cooktop, which broke after a few months (tripped the household power switch as soon as it was turned on). It had a three year warranty, and Aldi gave her the contact of her ‘local’ authorised repair person.

Living outside of a major city, ‘local’ wasn’t exactly local, and the repair guy didn’t want to go to her town till he had some other work lined up there to make it worth his while. Long story short, it was a tricky problem, there was some to-ing and fro-ing, with long waits between visits, and she’s been over a month without a stove and still waiting.

She’d bought other Aldi specials before this, like power tools etc, all were fine. But she’d never buy anything essential again.

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Bought and induction cooktop earlier this year (think it was $49 or similar), use it every day and it works perfectly. On same day bought a Stirling automatic vacuum cleaner (approx $170) which is used once a week and also works perfectly. It does have some problems with my lounge room chairs, which have wooden legs in shape of an X, but so did the old one. Really good battery so far which charges quickly and lasts a couple of hours. I have wooden floors and a dog which loses fur, and it copes well with that. Also have an Aldi scale, bought 10-15 years ago which still works perfectly (not often used) and have never replaced the battery.

Negative: recent purchase of spray watering gizmo ($10) does not work at all, it comes apart when connected to hose.

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Glad you have such good purchases. Were the first 2 items Not Made in China?

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Looks like a Aldi product with potentially disastrous results if it fails, like this one…

https://au.news.yahoo.com/aldi-power-board-goes-up-flames-mans-wollongong-work-shed-012533590.html

What is concerning is that the powerboard’s owner indicated that Aldi offerred refund but said that it was not liable for damage caused by the fire resulting from the failure of their Workzone Powerboard. Aldi is claiming that the powerboard was used in an outdoor environment (namely, a backyard shed).

While the instructions for the poweboard indicates that it is only to be used indoors, one would expect that inside a shed office/room would be indoors (rather than within say only within a house as it appears to be the claim of ALDI).

If the fire resulted from a powerboard fault , the information provided by Aldi seems in contravention of the Australian Consumer Law where

Your customers can seek compensation for damages and losses they have suffered due to a problem with a product or service (in addition to any other remedy provided) if you could have reasonably foreseen the problem. In other words, customers can also recover losses that would probably result from your failure to meet a guarantee.

Damages include the cost caused to the consumer as a result of the problem with the product or service. This is usually financial, such as costs of repairing damaged carpets as a result of a faulty leaking washing machine, inspection and transportation. It can also include lost time or productivity.

You do not have to pay for damages or losses that:

  • are not caused by your business or the goods you supplied
  • relate to something independent of your business and outside your control, after the goods left your control.
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Indeed/agreed. If the shed has a door, then using it in the shed is using it indoors - if they want to be picky :wink: I think they’d have a lot of trouble if they tried that one in any real test of consumer law - just a bluff …

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I bought an Aldi robot vacuum cleaner a few years ago. It was much cheaper than the known brands, but didn’t work very well. It missed a lot of dirt and frequently wedged itself under furniture. This may be an issue with all robot vacuum cleaners. However, I couldn’t leave it unsupervised. It didn’t last very long either. Less than 1 year. I bought it because it was a novelty. It ended up in landfill.For my next vacuum I returned to the traditional canister “pet” type.

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I have had similar experiences with Aldi Special Buys to the point where i will never buy another electrical appliance from them. A few years ago, we renovated the kitchen of an investment property and decided to install an Aldi ceramic cooktop because it came with a 3 year in home repair/replacement warranty. The cooktop failed within 4 months, so I rang Tempo (the importers) to arrange an in home repair, but they advised that they reserve the right to instead provide a full refund under the terms of their warranty. I got my money back but then had to buy a new cooktop, pay an electrician to remove (and dispose of) the old one then install the new one. I will never buy another Aldi electrical appliance.

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You can also seek compensation for the failure, the cost of removal and replacement beyond the item’s refund value are costs you can claim for a failure. Many think it is only the item’s value that is claimable but the Australian Consumer Law makes it clear this is not the only cost recoverable.

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I agree with you on the drill bit comment. They’re not worth buying.
I have bought two of the Aldi electric mowers. The first one I bought early this year and it is still going well.
Inspired by this I bought what I thought was a better model with a mulching system.This one lasted only a few weeks and I returned it for a refund.

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