Choice made the complaint in October after noticing Coles had increased the price on a product it had promised would remain ‘locked’ for a certain period of time.
“We’re pleased to see the ACCC has followed up on our complaint, resulting in a much-needed apology from Coles and thousands of customers across Australia getting their money back,” says Choice Deputy Director of Campaigns Andrew Kelly.
“This kind of behaviour from Coles is exactly why we gave them a Shonky Award earlier this year. Coles has been touting how they’re supposedly helping with the cost-of-living crisis, all while banking huge profits and not following through on pricing promises made to their customers.
“A retailer as big as Coles failing to keep its pricing promises is simply unacceptable, particularly during a cost-of-living crisis where so many people are already worried about the price of food and groceries. If Choice hadn’t picked up on this significant error, it’s possible thousands of people would still be out of pocket without even realising.
“Choice will continue to call out retailers who do the wrong thing by consumers, and other supermarkets should be on notice that they will not get away with any kind of bad behaviour.”
Coles has since processed refunds and apologised to customers.
“We incorrectly increased the ticket price of 20 products before the end of the promotional period,” a Coles spokesperson says in a statement.
“We know cost-of-living is the biggest focus for so many of our customers. We sincerely apologise to our customers for this mistake, and we’re working quickly to make it right.
“As a result of this error, we are refunding the full cost of the items to customers. Coles has processed refunds for customers who used their Flybuys card or purchased through Coles Online. We ask any customer who purchased these items in store to visit our service desk with receipt for a full refund.
“We are also making arrangements to place these products back on promotion. Eight are currently back at a reduced price and we’re making arrangements to place the remaining 12 on promotion for our customers.”