News
27 July 2021

Supermarket complaints: when the price isn’t right

Consumers call out supermarkets for overcharging.

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Lynn H.
04 Sep 2021
Nestle coffee and milk

I alway buy coffee and milk.
Everyone was out of it for some time probably due to being made in Australia.
Came back in.
Brought some from countdown it had gone up from$4.59 to $4.80.
Went to new world,they had new stock in there’s is still $4.59.how can countdown charge so much extra.

stephanie a.
31 Aug 2021
Countdown Browns Bay

Spent $151 on shopping today and got overcharged on 3 packets of chips. I politely informed CS and waited for some time while the assistant checked the shelf. She eventually came back, plucked the receipt from my hand without a word and gave me the $1.20 I'd been overcharged. I asked why she wasn't refunding me the whole amount (which they were doing for a short while a few months ago) and she said full refunds were just for fresh food and meat. At no time did she say sorry, thank you for waiting or even smile. She behaved as if i had somehow done something wrong, rather than the other way round. I rang up later to complain but the store owner wasn't there and the store manager couldnt be found.

I've given up pointing out the countless mislabelled/wrongly priced items in the store as it eventually became clear that no one was remotely interested in correcting them. Your article quotes the Countdown spokesperson as saying there are team members in every store dedicated to price integrity. Really? There's no sign of them at Browns Bay.
Interestingly, Paknsave Albany is very good in this regard and i think ive only once been knowingly overcharged.

Barbara L.
13 Aug 2021
Overcharged

The same thing happened to me - saw an item on special (eco produce bags) for $1 but was charged $3 after checking the receipt when I got home. Had to go back into the store later on and get refunded. I'm sure it happens a lot more than we realize. Always pays to check your receipt.

Robert A W.
11 Aug 2021
New World special price tickets

New World used to show special price ticket in red. These were place over the top of the normal price so that you could see what savings you were getting. Recently New World has introduced special price tickets with a red line them where the normal price is shown in a font size of maybe 6 or so. Much too small for many people to read, especially in the open freezer section where the prices are approx. 1.5m away or down on the bottom line.

Jenny & Di
04 Aug 2021
Countdown does NOT refund wrong price paid and customer keeps product free of charge

Countdown is quoted in your article:

“It's not our intention to mislead customers in any way … It's our policy across all our stores that if we are alerted to an incorrect price charged to a customer, we will refund the price paid and the customer can keep the product free of charge,” the spokesperson said.

However on Tuesday in Countdown Kapiti I was charged wrongly (2 of the same at different prices), and the amount charged was more than the '2 for $4.50' special offer.

When I mentioned that according to Countdown info provided to NZConsumer, that Countdown refunds the price paid and I can keep the items if charged wrongly, they looked at me as if I was mad and snapped "of course not!" They took the extra amount off my bill, with lots of muttering about lots of this happening all morning, end of.

What is the actual policy at Countdown supermarkets?

Confused of Kapiti

Carolyn B.
08 Aug 2021
Countdown Refund Policy

I checked Countdown's Policies and found:
Price Issues
If any product is charged at a higher price than stated on the current shelf ticket/label and the transaction has been completed the following will apply:
- Single product: Countdown will refund the price paid and the customer may keep the product free of charge.
- Multiple of the same product: Countdown will refund the first product and the customer may keep this first product free of charge. A refund will also be given for the difference between the current shelf price and the charged price for the balance of the products.
This info is from: www.countdown.co.nz/about-us/our-policies/refund-policy

Mark N.
02 Aug 2021
Specials

Pak n Save often advertise something on special higher than the regular price from the week before. i notice this particularly with instant coffee at Moorhouse Ave. It is not a mistake as it happens regularly.

Stephen e.
02 Aug 2021
incorrect charging of specials

i have had this issue about highlighted specials not being charged correctly for some time going back over a year. Coundown in Mount Eden on Dominion road, regulalrly has this problem and oyu do definitely have to keep an eye out for this. Both the original price being charged instead of the discounted "yellow sticker" price, and also the special price not applying to the brand where the sticker is. I believe the supermarkets are happy with these errors, and reluctant to put in the resources to correct it

M J C.
01 Aug 2021
Underweight and wrong items suplied

I'm having to be a lot more rigorous in checking Countdown on-line shopping these days. They don't supply a printed packing slip anymore and it's in the form of an attachment to the confirmation email. I will be printing this out every time from now on, after numerous 'mistakes' in the last year.
For example: I've had two cases so far of underweight veges, and by big amounts, 200grams instead of 300 ordered. Next time I'll take them up on it and remind them that the Commerce Commission takes a very dim view of this, with big fines applied. Countdown have been stung before on this but don't seem to learn.
-Items not supplied at all, due to the deliverer getting bags mixed up, having to be (re)- delivered under clause 4.9 of the T's and C's.,
-Wrong items delivered, eg beetroot instead of swedes, this took much phone and email work to get fixed, ie re-delivered.
Also, you have to be vigilant with the 'Substitute permitted' tick boxes, they are not prominent and you easily miss them.

Alice
31 Jul 2021
Always ask for your receipt

Most supermarkets and food shops now ask if I want the receipt which leads me to believe that most people don't want them. This would work in the shops' favour as without a receipt you will not know you have been overcharged unless you watched the till as items were scanned.

Gillian B.
31 Jul 2021
Overcharged virtually every time

We have to check the dockets from our local new world every single time and are overcharged probably on an item over 80% of the time. Not to mention the dodgy labeling. 1kg tasty behind a sign saying $10 yet excluding tasty in teeny weeny writing. Hubby came home yesterday being stung with beans marked on special...the beans with sausages strewn throughout the stand all charged at full price. Bring in some honest competition labour! These guys are beyond taking the mickey.

Peter K H.
31 Jul 2021
Watch the till as you go through

I have several times been charged full price for shortdated items which have been repriced. I have always asked for a refund which has been given but then I approached New World Mosgiel because it was happening so often. They rang me to assure me that they had checked with the relevant departments and reminded everyone that the new price has to go over the previous barcode if it is to scan correctly. Question - do people return to the store if they have been undercharged eg when an item has not scanned ?

James B.
31 Jul 2021
Take time to check your receipts

The writing on shelf price labels is often very small and almost illegible at times. Shopping at New World in Dunedin I have detected several mistakes on my receipt over the past year. I now always spend a couple of minutes checking my receipt after passing through the till but before I leave the store. That way I can report the problem to Customer Services.

Kas S.
31 Jul 2021
Paying twice

My current complaint is I have to sit in the car and check my receipt before I leave my Countdown supermarket because quite often I have been charged twice for an item I only have one of. I'm okay if it's only $1 or $2 item but usually it's the bigger cost items anywhere from $6 to $10. I never use to check my receipt till I got home but living Rural it's a hassle having to take the time between work to get back there and get it sorted although they tend to look at you as if I'm lying and really did buy 2. Another gripe is they have a bad habit of not removing special tags when they are finished and I don't make a habit of looking at the small print on the tag for the end date so I've brought what I've thought was a really great price only to discover I've paid full price. YES I do go back in and complain and I have had the full cost repaid to me but we shouldn't have to do this. Taking photos on your cell phone if you can of the item in question on the shelf also gives you the upper hand. They don't like it.

Trev O.
31 Jul 2021
Refund and keep the item???

That is just a lie! No time have I ever been offered the item when been overcharged. Every time its cost me is far too much time to get a refund at countdown
At pack save the price of a lot of items has jumped .. Eg Pizza has gone from $2.50 to $2.99 ! How about that fo a huge increase?

Alice
31 Jul 2021
I get refund and keep the item

My Countdown supermarket gives me a full refund and I keep the item whenever I am overcharged. I check my receipts before leaving and am actually delighted when they charge too much. Keeps them on their toes as it doesn't happen very frequently.

Carolyn B.
08 Aug 2021
Countdown Refund Policy

I checked Countdown's Policies and found:
Price Issues
If any product is charged at a higher price than stated on the current shelf ticket/label and the transaction has been completed the following will apply:
- Single product: Countdown will refund the price paid and the customer may keep the product free of charge.
- Multiple of the same product: Countdown will refund the first product and the customer may keep this first product free of charge. A refund will also be given for the difference between the current shelf price and the charged price for the balance of the products.
This info is from: www.countdown.co.nz/about-us/our-policies/refund-policy

Brian H.
31 Jul 2021
Not honest

To supply mandarins I grew to a supermarket they had to be "Choice" grade ie more than 40mm in diameter and free of blemishes. After grading, packing and "marketing" the fruit entered the supermarket at $1.20/kg and were in the bin at @2.45/kg. I had 3 main complaints. Firstly the margin made by the supermarket of $1.25 was much greater - and unreasonably so - than I received net as a grower of $0.19/kg. Secondly, the fruit remained my property for 48 hours after entry to the supermarket which meant no risk to them, and thirdly I found fruit with skin blemishes and smaller than 40mm in the same bin. They had mixed second grade fruit with "Premium". If supermarkets call this "best practice" and "respect" their suppliers what else goes on?

Willem D.
31 Jul 2021
Incorrect price

I have to check my receipt everytime I buy from PaknSave Blenheim. In one out of 4 shops an item will be charged incorrectly. Pay attention to fruit on special, e.g. apples. If for instance Braeburn are on special, make sure they charge for Braeburn and not the more expensive other varieties.

Hugh P.
31 Jul 2021
The problem is unquestionably systemic and intentional.

Always always always check your receipts.

For more than a decade, and throughout New Zealand, Countdown has tried to overcharge me on many items, in various ways. For about half of ALL my visits to Countdown over the years, have resulted in me having to go to the CS counter to get a refund. Of course the problem is systemic. It’s nice getting full refunds on the various items that I buy, but most people won’t be checking their receipts - and shouldn’t need to.

- Special prices not honoured
- Regular prices promoted as special, including followed by one week of an artificially high regular price, before the regular price being returned to what it was.
- Special price cards being placed over the wrong regular item
- Mix non-specialled items in with specialled items
- Not correcting any of these mistakes when alerted to them (which has meant that I’ve had full refunds on multiple visits)

There’s also regular double-scanning of items in my trolley, multiple scanning of the most expensive of similar items (rather than scanning each item’s price), removing or masking expiry dates on items, etc.

The results are always over-charging, never under-charging. They would probably earn an extra $50 to $100 per year from me if I didn’t check. I guess that equates to $50,000,000 - $100,000,000 of extra profit from New Zealanders each year. Why is this not scandalous?

Always always always check your receipts.

Kas S.
31 Jul 2021
100% agree

With everything you said as my post above mirrors the same. They do not like me taking photos of the item/shelf in question as I have the proof and they can't hide it.

Gillian B.
31 Jul 2021
Bang on

So true that man!

Sue H.
31 Jul 2021
Pears prices

Every week at New World one of the pear varieties has been significantly cheaper than the others . For three weeks running I selected the cheap option and was charged for one of the expensive ones. On the last occasion I saw the name of the wrong variety on the screen and asked for it to be changed, she then argued with me and a supervisor had to tell her she was wrong. This was a difference of $3.99kg and $6.99Kg