Maybe they have their own model numbers, but model number engineering is akin to the mattress rort everyone involved in the mattress industry conspires with. I’d be interested to contact the manufacturer and ask them to identify the material differences between the two products - excluding the label which bears the model number markings. The glee shown by the staffer identifies clearly their intention to avoid having to compare …
No doubt even if you get a win re the model numbers Bunnings only need to agree with the supplier to a variation in specification, eg duty cycle, power rating, colour difference. In the end it becomes a very difficult technical debate over winding wire gauge, insulation class etc etc. Even quoting a different OS standard for some minor detail or omitting one, other than the Australian statutory needs is all it will take to muddy the water further.
Does the ACCC have the resources, technical support and will to even bother over what it might consider a very minor item by value? Except when you multiply it by the millions of sales each month and it all adds up to a very significant number.
When tempted by Bunnings I have a few Ryobi and Ozito power tools to their credit. That will never be a price match issue, due to the exclusive branding. For all else (most tools) I buy from one of the big name tool specialists major trade brands and models. At least these are the same with each retailer and you can comparison shop by model. The only risk is some models on special are run outs of the previous version. Generally this does not matter as the quality and performance is the same.
For the upper end trade tools it appears Bunnings is not that competitive, unless you get a trade discount?
They probably don’t even need to agree to a variation, just agree to a statement of variation - even if it’s something even more b/s like more rigorous testing - we test 2 out of every 100 but for them only 1 … For me, these little ‘investigations’ I treat as an amusement and to satisfy my own curiosity - where it goes depends entirely on what I find. A number of times it goes nowhere. I have a clanger ready to unleash on a local utility soon, where I reckon I have some fairly damning evidence of wrongdoing, but it needs polish, and time …
Excellent question - I suspect you have a point. Not sure they’ve ever cared about the mattress industry scam for example, and that’s been going for decades, so may well be the same for power tools … just too hard?
I assume you voted with your feet and took your custom to Mitre 10.
Alternatively, if you really wanted to buy it from Bunnings, perhaps you could have done so and then returned it for a refund as you had found the item cheaper elsewhere.
That might have inspired a different response.
Their attitude was the only reason I needed to shop elsewhere
A slightly different item regarding Bunnings which shows a different perspective.
Our local Bunnings employs an older person with white hair and a short white beard who loves to dress up for the current occasion such as Santa at Xmas., and hand out items to the kids.
He is stationed at the main entrance to greet arriving customers and check receipts when customers depart.
Last September he was dressed as a priest and when I asked him what it was about, he replied “Fathers’ Day”.
On Friday he was in the standard Bunnings uniform and I asked him if he was stopping dressing up. He said that he had been told that he was not allowed to anymore after a customer complained.
Some woman had complained about him dying his beard in accordance whatever theme he was currently portraying as well as a younger employee who has her hair dyed pink and purple colours.
I said to him that it appears the Xmas Grinch has come early this year.
What a miserable customer.
Shows it pays to shop around
I shopped at Bunnings yesterday and the staff member at the entrance once again had his beard dyed.
I asked him what it was about and he replied “West Coast Eagles”.
I said to him ‘You’ll be in trouble again” to which he responded “Yes, and tomorrow it is the Melbourne Storm”.
Hopefully the kill-joy grinch customer does not visit Bunnings this weekend.
What value do you put on your own time, trying to claw that 10% though? Here’s a thought … if you find a competitor’s lower price on the same item - whether “identical” or not - just buy the competitor’s product! You could go back to Bunnings and argue away - as people do apparently do, sometimes failing and sometimes succeeding, but is it worth the trouble? The consumer has already done the right thing by researching the market to compare prices. That is the most important thing.
One should also note the “exclusions” … trade quotes, stock liquidations and commercial quantities.
I know someone who used to work at Bunnings and was responsible for implementing the price policy. If Bunnings ensured that “identical stocked item” never occurred then there would be no need to pay staff to compare Bunnings’s price with a competitor’s price. Maybe this person’s job was to ensure that there were no “identical stocked items”.
Looking beyond Bunnings, one thing that I have noticed that may in part explain what is going on is the contest between bricks-and-mortar stores and online stores.
If every store, online and bricks-and-mortar, stocked the same item, people would go into a bricks-and-mortar store to inspect and handle and compare models … and then buy the identical chosen item online at a (usually) better price. Anecdotally, this happens quite a bit.
So bricks-and-mortar stores want to make that process more difficult by having “unique” model numbers and “exclusive” models.
Nice theory, but the unique part numbers game has been played since well before the modern internet. Mattress companies were one of the early industries that popularised it. I first ‘met’ the technique in the 1970’s.
Thanks for your comment @person, very interesting to hear your perspective.
To answer your question about the value of time, for me personally it really depends on the items. If it’s something of higher value, like a lawnmower or portable air conditioner, it’s likely worth my while to do more mucking around. In most cases, I’d probably do a quick search online and consider which store was easiest to visit and factor all that into the amount of trouble I’d be willing to take on.
The overall question on the price guarantee and it’s affect on competition and the home living and hardware market is tougher to answer. Certainly from a marketing perspective, Bunnings should possibly be the subject of studies on effectiveness if they aren’t already. I know that I saw one case study that showed the amount of effort Bunnings applied in creating their print catalogues at the time so that they looked ‘cheaper’ but still appealing (e.g. using rougher paper and less colours).
In the same vein, the ‘price guarantee’ in my opinion says to consumers ‘just come to our store, we’ll guarantee we are the cheapest anyway’. We’re vkeen to keep hearing the range of consumer experiences happening in reality whether it’s good, bad or ugly.
You definitely have a point regarding the Bunnings catalogues.
It is in the same vain as an article I read as to why Bunnings was successful whilst masters failed miserably.
Bunnings has bare concrete floors, dark colours, hand written price signs, and prices ending in all sorts of random number of cents rather than whole dollars or 95 or 99 cents, so to create an impression that Bunnings has wrung every last bit of fat out of their prices and operating costs.
Masters went in with bright lights, bright colours, glossy catalogues and unbridled arrogance and ignorance.
The rest, as they say, is history.
That’s right. For a $20 item, there’s just no point from a financial perspective. For a $1000 item, it could be financially worthwhile.
Not just value of time though. If you have to drive back to Bunnings in order to argue with them then that costed you money. (Whether you can do it all online, whether Bunnings will even accept an online price as evidence, I wouldn’t know. It might be too easy to set up a fake web site.)
We received a report via Facebook about similar problems with the Officeworks price guarantee. If Community members have similar anecdotes, feel free to add them here. If we have enough reports we will start a seperate thread.
I have certainly played the game of pricing discounts at Officeworks and won the discount (now 5% but in a previous life was 10%) on items that were simply too similar to argue with me about differences. They ring the business to confirm the price or they ask for the website to check…but if it is an online deal they include the postage/delivery costs in the “Price Beat Guarantee” calculations ie if with delivery dearer or same price then no benefit.
So my method now is a saved search term that includes the stores I usually use to compare with and put the item in as a variable and see what pops up re pricing before I head to Officeworks. If one is cheaper then I use that store’s details to show the staff, to ring or to give as a website address for them to compare. Ink cartridges, toners, monitors, paper shredders (Fellowes seem the best to compare), printers, cables, portable hard drives, usb sticks, paper and pens all tend to be the easy ones to win on. Office chairs/furniture can be a bit harder but sometimes it also provides a win for us.
Last one was 32 GB usb sticks that the post office had at $9.95 (same unit at Officeworks was $36), I got the sticks at $9.45 each (bought 10) so a saving of $5 gross. My price in added fuel costs to do an in-store pickup was probably close to $4 so total saved $1 (doesn’t sound like a lot but add that up every week and the savings over a year are about $52). Monitors are big saver items as I can almost invariably get a cheaper comparison price on those and 27’-30" ones mostly run between $400 to $800, and the 31" to 32" ones run to $1,000 or even over that amount (HP, BenQ, Acer, Samsung and Lenovo are the ones you need to search on to compare). As a quick example:
So after the further discount of 5% the Officeworks price was $425.60 a further saving of $22.40 gross and $18.40 after fuel (bought 4 so nearly $73 in savings).
Bunnings implements changes to their sausage sizzles.
Oh dear. Oh dear. Perhaps the customers complaining about the change on social media might just have to try eating their sausage sizzles upside down to get the onion back on top.
So it is better that the onion doesn’t fall out, but having the sausage higher in the bread means it is more likely to fall out instead leaving a nice slippery greasy patch on the Bunnings floor…or a nice round sausage to roll one foot over on. Maybe square sausages will be mandated to reduce these coming out of the bread, and if they do, causing someone to roll their foot on.
This is really a first world problem and a concern that Bunnings safety team possibly in conjunction with their internal legal counsel came up with such a ridiculous ‘safety measure’.
Having seen ‘it’ in action, the lawyers job is to advise on reducing legal risks to zero. Management can accept it no matter how ridiculous or tell the lawyers and risk management committee they are prepared to accept the risk and continue on with their supposedly ‘risky’ behaviours. Many local councils are afraid or do not understand they can do this, and some companies, well?!
The remaining question is whether Bunnings hire Bill Shorten as Sausage Safety Spokesman.