Returning fruit/veg

Do people return fruit or veg that proves unusable or unacceptable when cut into?
For example,

  • full price avocados ~$4 or more that have grey streaks in flesh (not bruised),
  • potatoes that have some sort of disease (I think) with dark brown blotches inside,
  • apples that would seem to have been frozen and are spongy with brown discolouration about one third of the way out from the core,
  • oranges or mandarines that are so dry as to be inedible.

I’m talking about produce that you can’t tell from outside what you are actually getting. TBH, the only thing I really care about is throwing out expensive avocados. And maybe now I am a spud short for my dinner plan.

Do people take it back?


Yes, we have taken back a range of fresh fruit and veges to supermarkets…mainly Woolworths. Haven’t tried with a local green grocer but expect they won’t be as accommodating.

Last thing we took back was a bag of carrots. The carrots looked okay when purchased but that evening when opening the bag one of the carrots in the middle was slightly mushy and couldn’t be seen from the outside. Returned to Woolies and no guestions asked as was the same day.

Haven’t tried avocados and this one could be more challenging as they are often bought hard and allowed to ripen over days/week. Any browning could be from handling or because it becomes overripe. Would be interesting to see the response if it was taken back after a week.


Sometimes avocados take a week or more to ripe so the purchase date is irrevelant.

I always take bad avocados back for a refund and I have never had a problem.

I have also taken other items such as pears back, especially prepacked ones, when they fail to ripen or are brown inside and I have never had any problems.

Probably depends on whether they want your future custom or not.


Yes. I accept something less than perfection but if the ‘rot’ is sufficient to ruin an apple or potato or whatever I will take it back. I have found when the consumer is reasonable our local grocers are also reasonable in refund/replacement.

A curious experience was having a single really bad apple on the inside that looked pristine on the outside. Returned it to the ‘fresh food people’ who did not score so well for fresh food in the grocery survey and they refunded the entire punnet I had purchased, not just replaced the one apple which was all I expected.


No. I would, if I lived in the same town, but it’s hard to justify an 80 km round trip… But I agree with

I read some time ago, that technology was coming which could detect (inside) damage of avocado: I am looking forward to the day when I can scan my purchase prior to paying for it!!


Yes we have taken back ‘off’ fruit and vegetables mainly to Woolworths, but also Aldi, and to a lesser extent Coles (where we shop least often). We don’t mind imperfection at all, but when the items are ‘off’ within a reasonable storage time, we have no compunction in returning them.

All have been most accommodating in proffering at least a refund, and sometimes a refund and replacement items (Woolworths).


Thanks everyone for your input.

I should have mentioned that this is my local greengrocer, but it has been rankling for some time. I avoid the supermarkets for fresh food 99% of the time.

It’s 15 mins away by car, but I see that as a waste of time/effort in the scheme of things. I’ll talk to them and see what they say - they may be willing to accept a photo as proof.


We most often take a photo since the shop usually doesn’t want rotten product to have to dispose of.


As an addition to Fresh Fruit and Vegetables in regards to returning defective produce we also make the effort to return unsatisfactory Meat to whomever we have purchased it off. As an example if they label a selection of Rump Steak as Premium or Tender and it fails to meet either of those descriptions the remainder is returned and refund demanded. Smelly meat (not the fresh smell but the ‘off’ smell) is quickly returned. 10% fat mince that exudes more than 10% rendered fat is returned (some has been swimming in render fat after cooking), Lean Minces that exude significant fat after cooking are also returned. Most occasions on production of proof refunds are given without requiring use of pressure. Those that refuse are often struck from our shop selection, very few to date have required that action.


and some avocadoes never ripen; remaining hard despite sitting out in the fruit bowl for over a week (even a fruit bowl containing bananas).


Short answer, Yes I DO!
Long answer (stop here to save yourself from a rant(ish) response.
As a single, retiree I have had to learn not to over buy as it’s just waste & I HATE waste but if something is rotten inside then back it goes & 99% of the time it’s accepted without question. We don’t have a green grocers in Manjimup & our growers market is pretty lame unless you want trio-tea-sets turned into candles so it’s the big two or wait until I get to Bunbury.
I work on the principle of is it “fit for purpose” & this includes specials but not markdowns or close to code items. I still buy those items if I think I will use them or most of them but I would not return them if bruised inside or slimy, as it was my choice.
The problem with F&V is that the big two keep them in cold storage for +/-6 months to maximise their purchase power at season peak when gluts may occur before they get to the local store. Bananas are a great example for they are kept at +1C for 6 months & they’re fine if not actually “fresh” however if they come into contact with a metal surface such as a shelf or rack then an externally good looking ‘nana’ will have a black spot where the point of contact has frozen & thawed. I will take a pic & try another one & should I get two in a hand I will return the lot claiming they’re not fit for purpose. I will only push if pushed & on the odd occasion a store has refused to replace or refund, then I was only too willing to open all my bananas & then leave them with the manager then report the issue with pics to the chain’s HQ as well as saying that I will do this. OK, so in the end I’ve lost out but there is some small inconvenience to them in dealing with faulty merchandise & also answering to someone higher even if they don’t care either.


Thanks @finlayso
I agree - if on sale, then it’s buyer beware. I also resent buying produce cling filmed in place on styrofoam plates, getting it home to find the hidden side mouldy, or damaged in a way that I wouldn’t have bought it if I could see it.


When I was at a nearby Coles yesterday, I forgot to buy some more William Bartlett pears, but when I was at our local Supa IGA later, I could only find Packham pears which are my least favourite pears.

I asked the lady in charge of the fresh produce and she replied that Packham pears are now in season and William Bartlett pears are in season when the Packham pears are not.

I have noticed that the last few lots of William Bartlett pears I have bought from our local Coles have started to turn brown in the centre and the last one was too bad to eat yesterday.

Obviously, Coles have had them in cold storage for beyond the time limit and that explains why they have been so cheap lately.

I have found the same with pre-packed punnets of Josephine pears from Woollies whereby they also go brown or do not ripen at all from after being in cold storage for too long.


The worst I’ve had was a watermelon that was white when opened. As Aldi don’t do cut watermelon, there was no way if knowing. They accepted it back without a docket and asked if I wanted to exchange, as there was no docket.
We don’t buy uncut watermelon anymore.


You can usually check if a whole wtermelon is ripe by tapping the outside of it with your knuckles.

If it is ripe, it will have a hollow sound.


I try to maintain a good relationship with my green grocer and butcher, avoiding Coles/Woolies/Aldi for fresh goods. Ieat mostly vegetarian meals so I spend quite a bit of money at the green grocer. They are aware of this and if I ever have a problem with my fruit and veggies they will always refund and usually give me a bonus of extra produce for letting them know. Fresh produce at Coles and Woolies is anything but. Most of it has been in cold storage for ages.


Thanks, Fred.

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I have experienced all of bronwastaken’s issues. The ‘fit for purpose’ rule still applies but to make it stick you need to return the F&V soon after purchase, and that’s not always practical. I also take evanstrish3’s comment - is it worth the ‘80km round trip’? I have only a fraction of that distance to do but I still weigh up the cost/benefit. It’s not just the car cost but my time as well. And, yes, the big stores are more accommodating than your local fruitier. At the end of the day, I do not believe my fruitier is trying to con me. He/she makes a wholesale buy based on a range of things that generally work, including a practiced eye. Despite my decades of buying F&V, choosing good stuff remains a non-exact science. My worst nightmare is a dish I’m preparing for guests. It needs to be eaten shortly after prep/cook/whatever, and then I discover unacceptable produce. It’s only happened once, and I had an alternative to serve in the freezer, but the experience leaves you feeling somewhat bitter. On a brighter note, when doing a fruit platter for a large gathering I engage the help of the owner of my F&V shop. Not only does he ensure I get good stuff selected from his shop and store, but the price works out well too.


I don’t think i have returned something like fresh fruit even though i have purchased enough thinfs that are either rotten or mouldy but are not able to see inside the package


You can do it! The first step is always the hardest, and it is your right to return what is not fit for the purpose that you paid good money for. Once you develop the habit of returning defective product it gets much easier.