Coles checkout operator scanned item incorrectly

Mistakes are being made at the checkout at Coles.

Three apples in my trolley (44c) were scanned as three limes ($3) which were not in my trolley. I reported this to the supervisor and she was most dismissive - as if this was not a major problem. I was pretty much treated as being an interruption to her day. Well this is theft.

I did not get the item which was scanned incorrectly for free - which is the least that should have been offered. Coles seem to be making extra money by scanning items incorrectly ( intentionally or not) and not compensating customers when errors are made. Customers should not have to waste their time correcting errors.

I just happened to notice this error - I spent over $90 so there were many items.

Staff do not seem to be trained well - why is effort not made to make sure checkout operators are careful and take care? Who is training them?

The customer service is very poor overall at Coles with some staff creating poor customer relations. Too big? Don’t care?

Coles is also deleting customer complaints and closing them before resolution. They seem to hate feedback and will reply once , then say the case is closed. “Tick a box” complaint handling. It seems to be the culture at Head Office. No wonder why they end up in the Federal Court.


This goes against the Cole’s ‘Our promise to Price Scanning’ policy on their website.

The first item should have been given free and then the other two, refunds given such that the correct price was charged (namely a refund of $2.56 for the other two). I would be going back to the store possibly next time you shop with the policy information, docket and asking for the first item being free (full $0.44 refund).

If they don’t refund, I would be lodging a complaint through the Coles website with information on your tax invoice/docket, products scanned incorrectly and the response of the store personnel.


I got the $3 refund but had to pay the 44c for the apples. Can you believe it? It was not my mistake.

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Thanks for the policy - it sounds like I should have received the apples (44c) free which I did not.

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Did the apples have a barcode on them or did the checkout operator select the product from an on-screen list incorrectly?

If the operator entered the number incorrectly or selected the wrong product on the screen the pricing policy doesn’t apply …

I’ve argued ‘but I’m being charged a higher price than the advertised price’ to no avail. No word on how long it took them to re-pack my trolley onto the shelves, sadly it was only half full. Coles also seem to have an interesting policy on ‘identical items’ - same brand but 3 different flavours are apparently identical - they have no answer for how identical items can taste different other than ‘its the same product’ - cue the Monty Python argument sketch.

I shop at Woolies now all the time - they have a better car park, they seem (here at least) to be slightly better in service, and I have the unlock song on my mobile for their trolleys so I can get past the invisible force-field that locks the trolley wheel :slight_smile:


She selected the item on the screen.

Yes, by not saying sorry and compensating the customer for time lost complaining ( and saving them future hassles as they learn from errors like this) they lose customers and lots more money than a voucher is worth.

Coles is creating poor customer relations.

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From the Coles site referenced above, bold added.

Our Promise on Price Scanning includes:

  • All scanned merchandise in the store **with a barcode or a PLU (Price Look Up) number.**

Our promise 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**

Most but not all fruits have numbers, but for an apple to show as a lime an incorrect PLU number had to be manually entered (ie selected from the screen) so Coles was technically within their rights to process it as they did. Whether that is an acceptable level of customer service is another issue.

In contrast to that Coles, last week my Coles charged me for the wrong type apples. It was a veritable circus before the counter staff could find someone with the authority to help, but when the duty manager came she gave me a full refund rather than the $1 and change I expected! It seems to come down to local management and their maturity in maintaining customers’ good will.


That’s precisely right, @PhilT! This comes down to the competency of the service manager. Where I work, we used to have a brilliant team. We had competent managers and competent team members. We were fully instructed in which policies apply where, and told to go above and beyond if the customer is nice. We ended up being the second best store for customer service in the region, and in the top five for the state.

In the past year or so, with different management now, their approach is more bottom-line, squeeze every last cent out of the transaction. Their passion for quality customer service is lacking, and all sense of family has since evaporated from the team. Team are less trained and have no drive to perform more than the bare minimum. Some of my regular customers have noted how the store is going downhill, and I agree completely.

For me personally though, if the customer is nice enough, I go above and beyond - usually giving full refunds where they were only eligible for partial refunds. If the customer is not nice, they only get what the policy states.


That poor customer service is displayed at their own peril . Customers will spend their money elsewhere.

“Nice” is subjective. All customers should be treated the same. It can be stressful and time consuming to complain - so a customer may not appear “nice”.

Treating “not nice” customers differently probably causes them to go elsewhere and create poor word of mouth advertising.

In the end the business loses when it comes to poor customer service - we see this over and over again .

If I see a staff member is being nasty , not sticking to the facts and avoiding the problem by attacking the customer for being assertive - that staff member is immediately reported to their manager/Head Office. Customers do not get paid to fix up the problems of businesses - so they should be appreciated and respected. Businesses pay lots of money to find out problems revealed through customer complaints through market research - so businesses should be grateful.

Good service is good business. Many customers are not buying products ( brands etc.) in today’s commercial world - they are now buying experiences.


If a customer is going to be blatantly rude to me, I would prefer they didn’t return to my store. I have made this clear to several customers over the years - and fortunately, I never saw them again. Win-win :slight_smile:

I whole-heartedly agree with everything else you said! Poor customer service should be penalised.

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Cole cash register operators don’t enter PLU number persay any more in relation to fruit or vegetable as they use in effect touch screen computers which display pictures of fruit and vegetable produce instead. I suggest that what @PhilT outlined is correct and that they did not have to honour their price scanning policy, that being the first free item being free and remainder charged correctly.

Coles would argue that the PLU is in effect the image on the cashier’s screen (e.g. another apple variety) and it was operator error and not scan error. Maybe Coles (and Woollies) need to update their policy to cover the recent technological changes at their checkouts.

The wording in their policies comes from the Supermarkets Scanning Code of Practice. Maybe the wording in the Supermarkets Scanning Code of Practice also needs updating by the Australian Retailer’s Association.

It is likely their resolution of offering only the difference in product cost met their own policy (noting for my first post I assumed the apples had a barcode and were scanned as this was what was outlined in the original post).

Furthermore, when making a complaint, it is important to be civil and unemotional. As soon as one becomes uncivil or emotional/angry, they are only likely to do the bare minimum to resolve.

It is also worth noting that I have had an experience at Woollies whereby loose discounted fruit price at the checkout was not the same price as that shown in store. When advising the cashier, she immediately gave me the product for nothing even though the sale had not been completed (I expected manual price adjustment and for me to pay the correct price). It did make my day to save a few dollars and possibly should have raced back in store to fill a bag before the error was corrected to get more freebees (unfortunately while I did think it was possible at the time, I’m not that sort of person).


A post was merged into an existing topic: Shopping Trolley Derby - Trolley Lotto - Locking Shopping Trolleys

I think you are being a bit harsh…this was a human that made a mistake? we all do this…maybe the operator was having a bad day or had some reason for not apologising profusely…unfortunately these people are not particularly well compensated but in spite of this are usually friendy and acccurate…unlike some customers who can be rude dismissive and demanding…

in the big picture…this was a <3% error in your total bill. you could have used the self check out if available if you distrust the accuracy of checkout operator…and of course no one misscans items when they use the self checkout…

As for compensation…so you also expect a bank to credit you with funds that have been transferred into your account in error…or you employer to just forget about any overpayment they might have made?

as for consumer defender…would you go through all that for 44 cents!!!..that’s less the 0.5% of the total bill…is the principle really worth thhis effort???


I believe you are overlooking the point that Coles has a policy, and the OP felt Coles did not follow it. It was about Coles and the policy, not the operator and not the $0.44.

the whole thread appears to be about holding the big bad supermarket to acount…and wanting something for nothing because of a human error…it all seems a bit petty and not a particulary nice way of behaving. I’m sure Joe probably said something along the lines of “excuse me, I think you might have charged me for limes instead of apples by mistake”…However then suggesting in the post that this is theft and that Coles seems to be making extra money etc and that costomers should not have to waste their time correcting errors suggests thst the initial discussion may not have been as suggested.

BTW…2 apples for 44c seems very reasonable…


oops THREE apples for 44cents!!


I have always found my local Coles very helpful when I have been over charged or mistakes made.


This is not the first time this has happened. It’s my money. Coles is not a charity that needs donations.

I have not started talking about errors that result from prices not being put into the computer correctly - higher prices than what is on the shelf.

Up to you if you trust them and you do not feel you need to check and speak up. I don’t trust them very much. They are there to make as much money out of consumers as they can.


Noone likes paying more than they should. Supermarkets can be very expensive.

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Is that a surprise? They were selling for $1 per kilo.

I overall find Coles to consist of very poor customer service who do not listen to customers and what they want and need.

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