Coles placing incorrect price signs

I bought bread from a display table at Coles with a big sign saying the price was $2.90 as well as a smaller price label saying $2.90. There were many packets of this type of bread on the display table - it was not just a misplaced single item.

At the checkout I was charged $5.20.

Is Coles deceiving customers by putting higher priced items on display tables with price tags with lower amounts ( including really large price signs) and hoping customers will not notice at the checkout? This especially puts vulnerable customers in a very difficult position.

This is not the first time this has happned at Coles.

The staffmember who I raised the issue with admitted that the price was wrong and had no adequate explanation as to why all the bread products were displayed with the wrong price information ( both via a large price sign and a small price tag ).

This is unacceotable - Coles makes high levels of profits and should not be overcharging customers in this way.


We have had that on occasion at Colesworths. However, sometimes the ‘advertised price signs’ have the specific product in small print so learnt to look.

When it happens and there is no small print, we take a photo to the service counter and ask they honour the advertised price.

Wandering to another aspect, over the past weeks at our Woolies there has been a specific hand wash we watched that was stocked over an obviously incorrect price tag, and no correct tag could be found on the racks. Rather than ask we decided to watch how they managed the display. The next week it was unchanged so we removed the price tags. The next week they were still (re)stocking it in the same place with no price. Typical for this Woolies. Not Woolies per se, but attributed to local management and poor staff culture in the store.

Another variation was a sale price sign mistakenly displayed for a product not intended to be on sale that rang up at the correct normal price. Not a scanner error, but a price display error. They honoured the sale price.

When the price tags do not have a product specified, and there are many of a product on the display do not accept being fobbed off. Seek a manager if necessary, and then go to their facebook page to complain. It works in my experience.



It is a big problem as it deceives and confuses consumers. At the checkout many consumers are in a hurry to get out of the store and it is difficult to notice errors. If Coles is repeatedly doing this, it’s a problem that needs attending to.

You are right about poor management and poor staff culture - this does not help.


I had a similar issue with Woolworths locally with hot cross buns the last day before Easter. There were at least three flavour varieties on a shared shelf with only one price tag.

Store and staff issues are not unique. Negligent or with intent errors can hurt consumers as well as the business. Suspicion is it is the former most at risk.

When I called out to staff milling at the back of the bakery politely they seemed not to understand my enquiry. When I spoke loudly over the noise of the bakery goods area, they took offence. One of the junior staff took pity, and walked closer so we could talk at a normal level. I chose accordingly, after being advised each type was priced differently.


Thanks for your comment.

Correct pricing is important. Legally consumers have a right to be informed and not be charged the worong price at the checkout after being informed about a different price when at the shelf where the item was picked up.

Whether it’s true or not it can be taken to mean that the store is trying to deceive customers and they know that many customers will not notice the error at the checkout.

I think we need some ACCC court cases about this.


Just comes down to buyer beware.Check your docket make sure you have paid the correct amount


It is good for the buyer to be aware. But businesses cannot just rely on that to explain their mistakes - we moved away from that a long time ago. We have laws now that protect consumers from businesses who unfortuntely sometimes treat consumers unfairly and poorly.


This is what the ACCC says…

Coles, if they didn’t have separate pricing visible somewhere for the more expensive bread should have either given you the bread at the lower price or not charged you for the bread.

It is not the consumers fault that Coles can’t get its act into order when displaying its products. What Coles has done was misleading to say the least and inconsistent with the information on the ACCC website and under Australian Consumer Law.


I agree with the others that if there is a doubt, take a photo of the product in place showing the pricing. Insist on getting the product at that price. I have succeeded with this even when the wrong products were placed there, but that wasn’t clear.

Whenever I finish shopping, I always scan the receipt and check that we received the ‘special’ prices. I also scan the more expensive amounts to make sure that these are correct. This only takes less than a minute. If I find an error, I immediately go to the service desk and ask for the error to be corrected. In the case of overcharging, generally the full amount is refunded, so there is no cost for the item.


Sage advice, but there are those who do not have a clue how much products cost. Some even do the weekly shopping. I often wonder how many are like that? Give or take a little awareness, it’s all to the benefit of the retailer.

Our grans seemed to be very good at remembering prices. Possibly too good when they started complaining about inflation in the 70’s and how much they used to pay before the war for the same item. Do we pay less attention today because scarcity has been replaced with abundance, hand sanitiser and toilet paper excepted?


I’ve had the wrong price come up at the till and mentioned it… they’ve investigated and if I’m right, I get the item for free.
Did you get that?
Also sometimes people dump things when they come across a similar item for cheaper… it’s annoying because people can be lazy and not return said item back to its rightful place.


No they did not provide the product for free. This is Coles don’t forget - see past ACCC court cases about how they have mistreated customers.

This was not about one misplaced item. The staffmember who went to check could not explain the situation.

Also Coles staff should be trained to regularly check and make sure that items are in the right place. Again customers should not have to be made to suffer because of this. It is difficult enough being a consumer and making sure giant companies like Coles who make huge profit out of everyday Australians do not rip consumers off. We should not have to check to see if items are in the right place.

1 Like

I agree Mark - it is not the responsibility of consumers to make sure Coles is informing consumers about correct prices.


I regularly come across problems with pricing and scanning issues at Coles.

They had Cadburys Drinking Chocolate 225g with a “2 For $4.00” special ticket a couple of weeks ago and when I checked my receipt, I had been charged the normal price of $3.20 each so I went to the service counter. The staff member did not bother checking the sign and refunded me $4.00.

Next time I bought another 2 cans at the same store and the same thing happened but when I bought 2 cans from a different store and I was charged full price, the staff member retrieved the ticket which was for a special that had ended a few days previously, so she refunded me $4.40.

So some 6 cans for $2.00 total. Bargain due to Coles incompetence.

They also had a lot of packs of I & J Frozen Lobster Tails at that time marked down by 60% from the normal price of $28.00 a pack so I bought one. I was charged full price so I went to the service counter and got a full refund as an employee had failed to properly mask the original barcode with the markdown barcode.

The bottom line is if you fail to check your receipts, you will get ripped off but if you are vigilant, Coles and Woollies will only rip themselves off.

Of course the incompetence is not confined to pricing and scanning issues.

At another Coles store last week, I witnesses an employee squatting down in front of the refrigerated vegatable display refilling the holders with brown paper bags for loose mushrooms.

He had opened 2 plastic bags, removed the paper bags and put them down on the dirty floor mat whilst he fiddled with getting them into the holders.

Yesterday at our local Coles, all the sliced Coles multigrain bread had either muffin topped badly or had huge “v” shaped recesses in the sides.

The totally disinterested employee said that the new baker had over proofed the dough and the day before, they had no baker.

When I asked her to run a block loaf throught the slicer, she claimed that it would end up the same and that she had already cleaned the slicer.

I bought the loaf unsliced and successfully sliced it at home, whilst the sliced loaves were not fit for sale, let alone at full price.

Absolutely disgraceful.

1 Like

Thanks for sharing Fred.

I agree - absolutely disgraceful.

Have you raised all this with Coles Head Office and the ACCC?

1 Like

Both are a total waste of time.

Best to just play them at their own game by checking your receipts and getting a “freebie” when they get it wrong.

1 Like

They can be dismissive - true. This only causes them more problems in the end.

However, it’s worth letting them know as they need to act on complaints in one way or another and another person who is having similar issues and complains can be helped - more than one person complaining can make a difference.

The ACCC can sometimes start a court case when they receive complaints from a number of people about an issue. They may not know if you do not let them know


Unfortunately, as the spineless ACCC told me 20 years ago when we were fighting a grubby multi-national company, that they only take on cases where they believe that they have over a 90% chance of winning, with their usual cop-out advice that everyone is legally entitled to run their own cases under the Trade Practices Act, now Australian Consumer Law.

We did that ourselves and cost these grubs well over a million dollars, no thanks to the spineless ACCC.

In the realm of comedy, there are Jokes, Really Big Jokes, and the ACCC. The first 2 are funny, the last one is absolutely pathetic.

Yes, the ACCC needs to improve. It has an important role. Consumers need protection.

Without comment.

1 Like