Deceptive placement at Woolworths

Special Teas
As I whizzed around the aisles in Woolies this morning, this end aisle caught my attention - goody, Twinings on special! Grabbed a box of Peppermint Tea and proceeded to the self checkout. When the price came up at $13 I queried with the attendant on duty, pointing to the signage on the end aisle. Further investigation revealed that only English Breakfast is on special (in teeny writing, I didn’t quite get all the label in the photo). I commented that it was very misleading, to which she whipped out a catalogue and pointed out that only the English Breakfast was on special - which didn’t address the misleading comment at all! Had a similar issue happen a few months ago, when the label on chicken tenderloins had a “price per kilo” - when I queried it (500g pack) they said Oh, it’s price per package, and didn’t seem too concerned. How many people would NOT check the prices at the checkout? And is this misleading?

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Nice to see you again @Jodie18!
Although it’s clear from the shelf that only the English Breakfast tea was at half price, what was ‘Special’ about the items on the next shelves if they were not on a ‘Special price’! :laughing:

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Possibly a simple error by the staff. The current specials include the other Twinings teas, but not peppermint? A more appropriate response from the store staff would have been to recognised the error and arranged for the incorrect item to be removed from the specials shelf.


Interesting comment on price labelling of pre packaged chicken. In the F&V products it’s important to check carefully the price labels on pre-packaged product and compare the cost against loose. The two do not always use the same base for the unit cost.

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Makes you wonder?

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Yes, I was hopeful of clarifying the observation. I’m not intending to defend Woolies. It’s certainly an issue I’m very wary of when taking stock from the regular aisle locations. Labels move, product varieties have no fixed boundaries, and often only some varieties or sizes are on special.

It appears that most of the Twinings teas per Woolies current national weekly catalogue are on special. Perhaps it was otherwise on the day for @Jodie18.

Yes, there’s a good point in expecting Woolies to have fully listed on the half price specials pricing label all the teas included. We drink enough Twinings teas to always look for the specials. For the usual aisle locations the pricing labels are individual for each variety.

An observation is the end of aisle stock at Woolies is often not priced if it is also available in the aisle where it is labelled. One sometimes need to look further to be sure of the relevant price.

For a big business such as Woolies with many staff and routine task assignment, it would seem a very daring and risky situation if the stock not on special was added deliberately to the end of aisle specials shelves.

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Peppermint is at normal price $13.50.

Looks like the shelf fillers got overzealous with their reshelving - :thinking: I wish we had overzealous shelf filler near me as the shelfs are often understocked/look ransacked.

It is. If the labelling was at the normal shelf location (tea and coffee aisle), then one could give Woolworths the benefit of the doubt. As it is special product placement for the special at the aisle end, the peppermint tea should not have been place there as its placement suggests visually it is part of the special offer.

I would have pushed it with Woollies further when in store. If you have a Rewards Card, I suggest you login and lodge a complaint with Woolworths (see if you can attach the photo of evidence of being mislead). Hopefully as a minimum, they give you $6.75 back.

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I didn’t check the tea and coffee aisle as I didn’t actually NEED peppermint tea this week, but if I see something on special I stock up. There was no apology nor offer of selling to me at the special price. I do have a Rewards card - good suggestion!

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Thanks Mark. I thought she said that only the English Breakfast was on special (and that may have been reinforced by my brain when I looked at the photo, with the EB on the top shelf and the others on the next). With the chicken, the shelf label definitely had $/kg (not price per package) and when I went back a couple of days later I noticed that it had been changed.
I’m not going to starve next week if I overspend this week because I was toting prices up as I shop. But for a lot of people who struggle to pay their bills, things like this can really throw their budgets out of whack. I only noticed because I went through the Self Serve - if it was through a cashier, I wouldn’t have the screen in front of me showing items scanned.

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I’m sure many don’t check - and yes it is misleading. Is it deliberate? I’d say yes - it’s very easy for the company to say ‘simple mistake’ and blame it on the shelf packer or whoever. Yes I’m a cynic :wink:

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We often carry a calculator on our shops at Colesworths because if there is more than a small difference (normally F&V by weights) we look for a reason. There have been far more real/proven/refunded scanning errors at our Woolies than our Coles.

It seems to be a managerial and process failure at Woolies that appears to focus on central control but fails where the rubber meets the road at the store. Surprisingly we get the same product free every few months because of their failing to match the tags to the advertising to the scanner database. Neither the locals nor pricing database staff seem able to keep up with the musical pricing.

Sans a calculator I always scan the receipt to minimally confirm all ‘specials’ have been properly charged. Our refunded tally over a quarter may be more value than the rewards points accrued.

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That’s one of the reasons I use ACOs at supermarkets, I can check at my leisure the price of every item being scanned. The screen at the cashier’s is not always easy to see and my other option is to check my receipt before leaving the store and if there’s any queries getting in line at the customer service counter. A lot longer process than self-serve.

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To display an item that is not on special directly above a sign that says “Special” fits my definition of misleading.

After reading your post I shopped at Coles yesterday, unfortunately without my phone. Looking at the Pure Peppermint tea bags, they are on special. The sticker stated that price had been reduced by 25% from $9.50 to $6.75. However the shelf label underneath listed a regular price of $13.50.

Looking online, the special shows a 50% reduction, selling for $6.75 instead of the normal $13.50.

image

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hi Jodie,
every time that I shop at Woolworths, there is at least one item that is wrong at the checkout.
… I try to check the prices at the Register - sometimes, I will make them do a Price check vs the displayed Shelf-price - this has had MIXED Results-
…the MAJORITY of times I have been correct & they have Reduced the Price - BUT, this is such a Time-Waster & you do not get an apology…
… on one occasion, there was an Outright MISLEADING sign at the Bakery (a very LARGE display-sign of $4 -vs- a very-much-smaller $6 sign next to it - Bakery STAFF are on some sort of Commission…
… on a few occasions, staff have put the wrong stock in the 1/2-price section.

A few times, I noticed the Over-charge after I had paid & went to get a Refund from the 'Cigarette counter ’ - this can take 20 to 30 minutes.- how exasperating this can be after spending an hour Shopping/paying.

Do I think that they are sometimes deliberately Misleading Consumers? = yes, I do.

Do I think that their ‘Consumer Behaviour’ reports reveal that “most Customers do NOT check all OR any of the Prices at the CheckOut?” = yes, I do…

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How do you do this? Do you do it by memory or write your own list?

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hi syncretic,
the ONLY Occasions that I have gotten a Refund from the ‘Cigarette-counter’ is when-
(a) I have NOT yet left the Store; and
(b) I checked the RECEIPT after I paid & I noticed the Over-charge.
THEN, I have taken the “Receipt” & “the Goods” to the ‘Cigarette-counter’ to get the REFUND.
.
no store would do a Refund if you could not prove the Over-charge - therefore, you MUST PROVE IT before you leave the Store

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For some companies, confusing and luring the customer with discounts on “selected varieties”, lax shelf labelling, and relying on customers not checking, or not complaining, at the checkout leads to profit boosts. The busier life gets the more likely it is that these details will be overlooked by customers.

Wasn’t it Woolworths (Coles isn’t exempt) that makes headlines now and then for having wonky scales or mislabelled weight packaging? e.g. recently Woolworths shopper slams store over wrong beef mince weight.

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But how did you know which items were wrong?

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One of the reasons that issues such as this arise is that Woolies and other large companies factor in ‘a cost of doing business’ which adds a percentage to the price of every item to cover breakage, theft, refunds etc as it’s often cheaper to cop the loss than fund effective prevention. For example, the cost of providing a refund for the comparatively very few incorrect scans that are actually identified (they will have this data) is far below the cost of prevention when thousands of items are probably incorrectly scanned each day.

Also in a disaggregated sense no individual is losing enough to make it worthwhile taking Woolies etc to Fair Trading so minor deceptive or inappropriate practices remain unchecked. However…the business community is fond of estimating aggregated costs when it suits, so I wonder what figure could be placed on the aggregate cost to the public of Woolies etc not fixing this. Historically there’s little incentive for companies to do what they should so they’re happy to continue doing what they can get away with whether it’s this type of thing or securing data

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(a) before, I go shopping I check the Catalog for the ‘half-price-specials’ & write them down on my ‘shopping list’; and
(b) while shopping, I make a mental-note of prices; and
(c) IF I buy any ‘marked-down prices’, I watch the “scanned-price” that comes up “at the check-out”; and
(d) I always use an “actual person check-out”.

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Years ago, Woollies would give you a ‘full refund’ IF the item was scanned incorrectly at the checkout.
… they do NOT do this anymore.
now, they will only Refund the ‘Overcharged amount’.

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