CHOICE membership

Barcode Scan Price Errors


IGA also give first item for FREE

Items $20 or less: if an item is price displayed at the checkout or on the customer receipt is higher than the shelf price, the customer is entitled to receive that item free of charge
Items higher than $20: if an item is price displayed at the checkout or
on the customer receipt is higher than the shelf price, the customer is
entitled to receive that item at a $20 discount off the corrected price.

Where multiple items bearing identical bar codes, or the same PLU
number, are scanned and the scanned price is higher than the shelf
price, the customer is entitled to receive the first item scanned
free of charge and the remaining items at the lower price (that is, the shelf price).


The check out operators are not told but the Customer Service and The Duty Supervisors Do go to Customer service kiosk or ask that the check out operator calls the CSM or duty supervisor to your check out they cannot refuse. and get it sorted there and then, or go directly to kiosk after leaving the check out>


Aldi in comparison to just a small Coles or Woolworths still has several thousand less products to manage, you can change Aldi Ticket labels in a couple of hours Coles & WW can take up to 30 hours day befor and day of changes due to sometimes 15000 price changes per week on Catalogue ending/starting.


My IGA store doesn’t follow this code anymore.


On their web site they say these stores do

If these are one of the store they are fibbing to you…


Most often the problem is that the on-shelf labels are not kept up to date with the electronic systems. The entire retail (and non-retail) market in Australia has standardised on a system called GS1. This defines not only your 14 digit UPC (aka barcode), but the entire supply chain management system behind it including pricing. Suppliers typically release their pricing into the system once a week, but the retailers will update daily. This is all completely automated all the way from your various producers, such as Cadburys, San Remo etc all the way to register. When there’s a discrepancy, that’s because the individual store hasn’t printed out the new labels and put them on the shelf.

Another fun fact, then entire healthcare infrastructure uses the same system, but with a different title called National Product Catalogue (NPC). Everything from cotton swaps to hip replacement ball and socket has a barcode attached to it! (Yes, I worked in the GS1/Supply Chain industry for quite a few years before coming to work at Choice).


My local Woolies always confirms any phone photo I take to the kiosk. Apparently they have found some dishonest customers will take a photo during a sale and use it after the sale. Once they rejected there was an error even with their advertisement put in front of them; they claimed the “offending product” was a different range to the sale item when it clearly was not. I complained through their Facebook team with receipt details and advertisement reference and received a gift card and an apology. Next time that product was on sale they had it correct.

Coles also rejected once by claiming a specific product was not included in the sale that clearly stated “the entire … range”. After some irritating to and fro they did the right thing in store,

The local Woolies seems to have a problem putting any prices on some merchandise so you either buy it just because and don’t care what it costs, or have to take it for a price check, One would think pricing merchandise is a basic retail skill, but apparently not. I have seen weeks go by without a price shown for some items. Other times stock is not placed over the respective prices so it is misleading and I have learnt one has to pay attention. The Woolies is more culpable than the Coles but both are guilty.


According to members of a Coles forum Coles nationwide still abide by scanning error Free items, but you must call the CSM, the Duty CSM, The Night Duty Manager, as only these people in Coles Stores have the authority to give the item for free and use their system access number on registers to facilitate reversing items on a receipt. Does not apply to electrical goods, gift cards,tobacco products, and anything over the cost of $30


The maximum is $50 not $30 for Coles

The scanning error does not cover:

Items without a barcode or PLU
3rd Party Gift Cards
Tobacco or Liquor products
Items over $50
When the wrong PLU number is entered

Doesn’t mention anything about electronic goods

How easy is it to use unit pricing in the supermarket?

Hi @koalaphil, any team member operating the checkout can change the price of (or make free) any product - only if you are still in the transaction process.

If you are asking for a correction after the receipt has been printed, then only those team members with ‘supervisor numbers’ can issue refunds. There should always be at least one supervisor working front-end at any given time, but often there will be multiple. If, by chance, there isn’t an available supervisor, then you can ask for the service manager or duty manager. The team members on front-end should do this for you automatically.


You are slightly incorrect, The checkout person must first contact the duty supervisor/CSM that the item is incorrectly priced so that person can authorise the Free item which they will then write into the daily Record book and it will be relayed to POS person to change ticket. The checkout person needs authority to to continue transaction with a free item. If transaction completed must be presented to Customer service desk to be corrected.


Hi @koalaphil, which supermarket policy are you talking of? I know I am fully correct in regards to Coles’ policy. It is possible you are talking about a different policy.


I’m talking about Coles policy which was stated to me by the manager, as the policy he requires within his store, as the checkout people are not authorised under ant circumstances to give an item free unless that person is a SUPERVISOR or above ie CSM, Store manager, or Grocery manager.


You must cringe at some of the things you see at checkouts! I’ve worked in pharmaceutical distribution a couple of times and currently work in a different industry but still an aspect of supply chain - and watching the complete disregard for stock control that checkout staff display gives me the impression they are either untrained or don’t care. One instance I had a dozen items that were ‘the same’ but different flavours so 12 different UPC - all on special - they rung them all through individually and when I noted the price error they selected one, reversed it a dozen times and scanned it 11 times at the discounted price. So stock control says I bought 12 different items at full price, returned one of them 12 times and then bought that one item 11 times at the discounted price. Two other occasions recently I have bought multiple items of different flavours and they count how many items and scan just one and enter the quantity with no care for the evils it is doing to their back end systems/inventory.

You’d think it would be one of the basic concepts of checkout operation to inform the operator that their actions directly impact what the computer thinks is still on the shelf and how that reverberates back up the supply chain …


Many years ago on Turtle Island, Fiji, power went out and the owner scrambled to the power plant to see what failed. The diesel tanks were empty. He organised an emergency delivery and then interrogated the Fijian local who was responsible about “how could you let the diesel tank go to zero?” The local replied he did no such thing and there were still 50 (gal ?, L?) in the tank. “Show me”. The local pointed to the computer display with 50 (gal? L?) showing in the tank. After adding the emergency delivery of 200 (gal?, L?) to the empty tank the local had updated the inventory - there were 250. :smiley:

That Fijian may have come to Australia to train the checkout chicks and the good work continues to this day.


I see, so this would be a unique rule this Store/Service Manager made up to micro-manage their sales. This is not the case in Coles’ policy, though. I’m glad we are on the same page now. :slight_smile:


Coles, ALDI and IGA are not signatories to the Code of Practice; and the Retail Council advises: "If you would like to register a complaint with a non-signatory retailer, you can contact them directly.
Coles Customer Care - 1800 061 562
ALDI Customer Service - 13 25 34
IGA Customer Support visit:


If it was unique why then in the 11 different store’s of which i worked in it was the same policy, and according to Coles regulations it states that as a member of The Retail Trader association, Coles will abide to the Scanning Code of Practice, when it started it was updated into Coles own regulations


I bought tomotoes for $4 a kg but was charged $5.90 a kg ( which were the more expensive tomotoes).

I raised this with the supervisor and overall I was treated as if I was interrupting his day. I took him to the tomotoes and he attempted to say that the tomotoes I had purchased were the $5.90 tomotoes as they looked similar to the $4 tomotoes. While they were similar looking tomotoes, there was actually a slight difference. Anyway the fact is my tomotoes were the $4 a kg tomotoes. Staff at the checkout should check if they are not sure.

He agreed to give me the amount I had been over-charged back. I then quizzed him about the store policy about being overcharged and asked if the policy is that the customer receives the item for free in a situation like this. I also informed him that being overcharged is a big inconvenience for customers and something like this is not just a minor issue , especially for customers who may be on very low incomes. In fact being overcharged is against the law. I eventually received a full refund and was given the tomotoes for free.

Woolworths need to train their staff better to ensure fruit and vegs. are scanned correctly.

This is their problem, not the customers’ problem. Customers should be charged correctly for items bought. However it seems that customers have to be very careful and check every item that is scanned.

And when a mistake is made, Woolworths needs to be honest about it and have respect for the customer who is spending time raising the problem and helping other customers to not go through the same experience.Woolworths makes so much money out of customers and needs to make more effort that illegal actions like this do not occur.


I have had a roughly equal error rate from mis-identifying produce from Woolies and Coles, but my local Coles responds far better and with less hassle than my local Woolies 99% of those times.