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Aldi Special Buys

Aldi Special Buys
Am I the only person who has become highly suspicious of Aldi Special Buys?

Whilst there have been a few good bargains to be had now and then, I’ve ended up returning many “special buys” after I discovered they had a fatal flaw, or they did not perform as advertised, or they were not fit for the purpose intended.

Two recent cases in point:
A kitchen Spiral Mixer tap is on special Wednesday 18th May 2022. I purchased one of these about two years ago, but quickly returned it for a refund when I discovered the actual flow rate was only 1.5 litres/minute, - a long way short of the advertised flow rate of 6.5 litres/minute.
A flow rate of 1.5l/min may be suitable for hand washing in the bathroom, but it is painfully and tediously slow when filling up the kitchen sink to wash the dishes.

I also purchased a Cross cut paper shredder in February for $59.99
That’s a good price for a cross cut shredder and the shredding mechanism is heavy and appears quite robust, whilst the waste bucket part is very flimsy.
However the achilles heel came to light when I started actually using it - it tears, rather than cuts the paper, and it readily clogs up with shredded paper, and you end up spending much more time unclogging the shredding mechanism than you do actually shredding documents.

Needless to say I returned this item as well.

I could list many others I have purchased and subsequently returned over the years, but I’ve come to suspect that many Aldi Special Buys are “manufacturers seconds” products which have a fundamental flaw or are not really fit for advertised purpose, and Aldi picks them up at bargain basement prices then floggs them off to unsuspecting public, making a big profit in the process, even if a good percentage of the products are returned for refund.

Is my experience unique or do others share my cynicism?

I reiterate that I have got some good products now and then from ALDI Special Buys, they’re not all bad.

BB

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The quality of their products are a bit hit and miss…

I remember reading an article about 10 years or so ago about how Aldi purchased many of it’s one off special buys. At the time some of their buyers specialised in purchasing products for rebadging from factories with overruns or under forced foreclosures. Products from these sources may raise questions about quality as quality can be unknown until released for consumers to purchase. Aldi is also driven by price, this can also have consequences. Price also flows through to more regularly appearing special buys.

Aldi are also reported that they assume consumers buy the products based on price, and not because they are needed. Because some products are not needed, they are often not used (regularly if at all) and aren’t returned should quality be poor. Others accept quality issues as they think they have bought something cheap, where quality might not be perfect.

This is not to say all Aldi special buy products are like this, some are cheaper than equivalents elsewhere and have reasonable quality/are generally fit for purpose.

When we lived in Brisbane we shopped special buys occasionally, but ended up giving up as the ones of interest to us were a bit hit and miss. I am against creating unnecessary waste and found their special buys challenging this principle.

If one does buy a special buy, no matter how cheap or if it doesn’t perform as expected, it is important to exercise one’s consumer guarantees under the Australian Consumer Law, and return the product for a resolution. Hopefully over time it may drive retailer who sell cheap products to improve quality expectations of consumers.

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The previous experience of the extended family with Aldi’s brand of LED TV’s has been generally positive. They have work as intended, although perhaps the ‘smart’ features are not the latest. For anyone simply wanting a TV that tunes to FTA and changes channels by pressing a couple of numbers or volume up and down they just work. Are the picture or sound quality up there with the best? Possibly not, but compared to the old CRT screens more than capable.

Our Crofton pots and pans have all proven durable, and better than other low cost alternatives available from the big chains.

We’ve previously purchased rolls of plastic bag stock for the Sunbeam vacuum sealer, and needed to return. The rolls and the machines come in two widths. Our mistake for our narrow width machine. As Aldi only had the wider rolls they were happy to refund the unused product.

The one fail to note was a combined bathroom heater light exhaust fan unit. On install by the electrician several weeks after the actual purchase it was found to have a faulty switch in the ‘unique’ Aldi sourced electrical plate. Not something one might install the day after purchase, trades availability dependant. The work was complete prior to the defect becoming apparent and the ceiling had been cut out to take the Aldi product. We took the expedient if somewhat cowardly way out and replaced the Aldi switch plate and switches complete with a readily available Aussie brand alternative. There was a small cost in time for the electrician, added to other work that we had arranged at the same time.

We are happier to have a standard switch plate with readily available individually replaceable switches. Not that they are ever likely to fail. The switch block that failed appeared to have a mechanical defect, possibly evident on manufacture, if it had been directly tested. Our local sparkies are not in the habit of electrically inspecting and testing every switch before they are installed. It’s a rare occurrence to have one U/S. Usually easily remedied by swapping out the defective switch for one of the 100’s in the back of the van.

P.S.
Unless one has some relevant experience and opens up all the packaging of such products in store, it’s a bit of a gamble. Perhaps less so if one lives next door to Aldi in Sydney than elsewhere. It may not be accurate, but we were left to wonder if Aldi’s quality control is the customer’s responsibility. Once bitten, we are now extra cautious of anything electrical from Aldi.

Noted @phb has suggested going back to Aldi under the ACL is one way to change behaviour. Not a surprise that Aldi and others are slow to learn/change?
EG

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Crofton frypans are less expensive than other cheapies and they last well. I also bought a couple of “teddy fleece” blankets. Did not need two, one would have been quite enough. Lighter and warmer than my wool duvet. I tend to steer clear of electronics.

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I returned to Australia about six years ago and was initially very impressed with Aldi special buys. Some of what I bought has been good. Some lasted as long as the warranty but perhaps not much longer. But generally I have come to have low expectations of Aldi special buys and now I rarely buy such products.

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You get what you pay for.

Although, for the whole, the goods, generally, are fit for use, they are cheaper for a reason, or at least that’s my experience.

Electronics (Tv’s, radios, appliances, tablets, etc) are cheaper as there really isnt much, if any, after sales support.

Yes. There is a number you can call but, I’ve found on at least two occasions, a bug on a tablet was met with, “sorry. Can’t fix. Just return it.”

A purchase of a digital tv a few years ago, before the full rollout of HD and the newer mpeg-2 (or was it mpeg-4?). I contacted “support” to be told, “sorry. No updates available.”

Do I continue to shop special buys? Yes, but i look carefully at the item and question if it might need support during its warranty period.

Fire extinguishers? Yes. Tools? Occasionally. Special buys food in larger sizes? Sometimes.

And, yes, I do buy the odd t-shirt, pants, shorts, socks, pet beds, etc.

Buyer beware. A bargain isn’t always a bargain.

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Never had much of an issue, since ALDI came to Ashfield, NSW in 2012 I have had success with the Bauhn 10" tablets for $89/99, heck for the price why wouldn’t you try? The first one I wore out the A/C adaptor and it was impossible to replace. The second one, I stopped using tablets. I also bought the Stirling 7L top loader washer $349, it is still going strong 10 years later. The ladders, $40, reduced to $30 the next week, I took it back in its wrap for $40 refund, walked out and back in and bought it new for $30. Also power boards, slippers, mens trunks, socks, etc.

Things I would not buy? Mobile phones, Electronics apart from TV, the Special Buy food items like name brand chocolate, chips and nuts are cheaper at Woollies because they have the revolving discounts in their supplier duopoly with Coles, thinks Smiths, Cadbury, Nobbys, Bega, Coca Cola, etc.

An aspect I really like is their no quibble refund or replacement policy. It is very easy, no pressure to, provided you have a receipt, and even without if it was obviously an ALDI purchase they honour it. They sometimes ask for a reason, not to find an excuse to refuse, just part of the product quality reporting.

In general I’d recommend most purchases.

One area that was frustrating was the battery pack power tools. You can still get your money back, but sometimes you actually need the tool, and there isn’t a replacement either directly or from their supplier. Which then means buying a different brand, and each brand has a unique battery pack fitting, so sharing battery packs becomes an issue; but that argument applies to every brand.

Standardising Battery Pack connection across all brands, is a general issue I’d like Choice to address.

Totally agree. Some times it’s good & sometimes it’s bad.

We have bought a lot of Special Buys over the years. Some have been great and others have been lemons. Their fry pans are better than the expensive Swiss Diamond ones I have previously purchased. We bought the 65cm TV some years back. It broke down just months out of warranty. We rang and argued the presumed life span we should expect and they sent a technician to fix it for free. My husband needed an angle grinder while out on a job and didn’t have his with him. Aldi happened to have them at that time. They were ridiculously cheap so he bought one rather than make the trip back to get his. The motor burnt out before he had finished. He returned it and got another one. The motor on that burnt out too just as he had finished. He returned it and got a refund.

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Haha
Way to go.
Clever husband!