I was doing my online shopping with Coles last night and the total was $169.49 according to the info at the bottom of my screen. I checked out and noticed my email confirmation said $193.75. Being in WA, I thought, “damn I’ve missed the Tuesday special cut off” as it was 10pm. I thought I’d go back and modify my order and remove the Tuesday special items and see if there were any good specials for Wednesday. However when I went back, everything in my cart was the same price and it still said $169.49 at the bottom. All the Tuesday specials were still up and none of Wednesday specials prices had taken effect. As their customer service line was closed, I checked out again and called this morning.
When I rang, the lady said because it was after midnight on the east coast, Wednesday prices applied. I challenged this as none of the new catalogue prices had actually changed on the items, and the Tuesday prices were still displayed on the products. She said it was a known issue for WA customers that prices displayed don’t match those that will be charged and I need to be mindful of it, and refused to refund the $20 difference.
Is this a breach of consumer law? ACL states that “Businesses must display clear and accurate prices. They must not mislead consumers about their prices” - isn’t this misleading to advertise a price but then actually charge a higher price that is only evident once you’ve paid the total?
Welcome Jadebee… One would expect that online orders for WA would be coming from WA so East coast time shouldn’t make any difference. Also if you went to a supermarket at 10pm on Tuesday in WA the specials would still be on until midnight. And if its a known issue for WA customers why haven’t the fixed it. Frustrating isn’t it… interested to know what the experts on consumer law think about this.
Welcome to the community @Jadebee.
I’m not a Woolies on line customer, however some big city stores are open late or 24hrs. Our local specials catalogue indicates on the pages for various offers the start and end date of the specials. The fine print bottom of page per one example refers specifically to local time for the end of offers. I’m in QLD which is an hour behind the other eastern states with daylight saving.
If Woolies on line operates any differently for end of special times in WA one would expect the T&C’s to say so.
The Woolies staff suggestion was Woolies website closes the specials out based on Eastern Daylight Saving Time and charges the full price. So would the same clock system also change the on line price displayed at the same time to exclude the specials?
There is an inconsistency here that needs further support. Did you take the opportunity to collect a screen shot along with time stamp of the basket total prior to final payment, and of the subsequent screens confirming your order and price? Or something similar to demonstrate the discrepancy.
In respect of remedy Woolworths has a formal customers complaint procedure, which you appear to be aware of.
The following action if the outcome is not satisfactory would be to raise a complaint with your WA Government consumer representative.
Sorry, realise I’ve commented re Woolies and your issue was with Coles.
It potentially would be. If the person you spoke to in Coles and your recollection is correct that
this is something which the ACCC would be interested in hearing.
Coles is obliged to sell at the advertised price and should do so to meet its statutory obligations.
I do find it surprising that it is only at checkout that there is a price adjustment. Usually checkout totals are a sum of items purchased based on displayed prices. If what you have indicated is true, it means Coles operates either
a separate displayed pricing and checkout pricing systems which don’t seem to talk to each other (this would be highly unusual and very costly to maintain, and expose Coles to a high risk of inconsistent pricing); or
run checkout purchases through a centralised system, say in Melbourne or Sydney, where prices are based at the time in Sydney or Melbourne (this is plausible but also unlikely as it would fall foul of the ACL), or
A combination of both where the WA pricing system is discrete from the centralised payment system location (plausible but also unlikely as it would fall foul of the ACL).
It is also possible that on the night in question, there was some sort of bug where displayed prices were WA time but payment was based on Sydney/Melbourne time. It could have been say a payment system outage where only product IDs were sent to the east for payment processing, an matched with eastern pricing at that time. This is possibly the most plausible as there doesn’t seem any other reports online.
Another plausible reason is you may have been viewing prices based on old stored browser cache for the Coles online website (possibly a bug in the website coding not pushing new data for each visit or a browser setting such as to save data). If this is the case, the pricing error may be at your end.
Have you checked again on another Tuesday evening to see if you have the same experience with Coles online shopping?
It might be also worth checking browser settings and turning off data saving and set browser to clear cache for the Coles website when leaving.
Edit: The WA Coles catalogues state specials are until the Tuesdays, which would be 11:59:59pm WA time.
Thanks Mark. I did take screen shots and even a screen recording to show how the total price changed from one screen to the next, and how the specials were still the Tuesday ones. Didn’t seem to hold any weight.
I did start to use the Coles complaint webform but my photos were too large to attach so I gave up this morning…
It would be good if you could upload them here, removing any personal information if it exists, so members can see the change and work out what is going on.
After posting above, I also wonder if the change is from delivery costs and delivery bag purchases being added. It is worth noting that WA is different to other states for delivery bags. They are 5 cents more expensive and are paper.
This explains what happened but Coles online seems a major fail since it does not match their policy. I would go to Coles and the ACCC/WA Fair Trading with a please explain and get a refund as I would compare the experience to a scanning error where the price charged is not the price displayed. Ask for the first instance of each item where the price changed to be supplied gratis and see how it goes; since it appears that was not shown by line item you will need to approach it as a game yet you should be able to prevail since there was apparently no warning on the order page(s).
An extract from the linked T&C.
Specials: CSA offers many catalogue specials and exclusive online specials, but please be aware some in-store specials are not available on Coles Online. Please note that specials and offers change on a Tuesday at 11.59pm AEST/AEDT (Melbourne time). Any Order placed before Tuesday 11:59pm AEST/AEDT (Melbourne time) that is modified by you after Tuesday 11:59pm AEST/AEDT (Melbourne time) is no longer eligible for any specials available at the time the Order was placed. The Order will instead be eligible for any relevant specials that commence on Wednesday 12:00am AEST/AEDT (Melbourne time).
The screen recording won’t attach (apparently the wrong file type) but here’s some screen shots showing the total price at the bottom, the price once I navigate to the next page, then some shots of the Tuesday specials still in effect.
They don’t care because they know they have the majority of the market, and many of us have no alternatives. With the price of groceries what they are, some of us can’t afford to vote with our feet. We just go wherever is cheaper