ALDI shopper's coin payment warning sparks fierce debate

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An ALDI customer has sparked debate online after she posted on Facebook that the supermarket refused to let her pay in coins, citing a store policy limiting the amount of coins the store would accept.

Hidez Coote told Yahoo News Australia that the incident happened while shopping at ALDI in South Wentworthville, in western Sydney.

“Has any person experienced an issue with paying in gold or silver coins?” Ms Coote posted in the ALDI Mums Facebook group.

“I was abruptly and rudely scolded when paying $9.25 bill. The cashier told me that in future to pay in cash [notes] as ALDI policy can only accept $5 worth of coins.

“Mind you I had $7 worth of gold coins.”

She said she was told it was an ALDI policy.

An ALDI customer said the store refused to allow her to pay in coins, citing a store policy.
An ALDI customer said the store refused to allow her to pay in coins, citing a store policy. Source:Getty

After making three formal complaints through the ALDI website, Ms Coote said she was contacted over the phone two weeks later by an ALDI spokesperson.

They informed her that although the store didn’t have such a policy in place, the information she was given in store was derived from the Currency Act.

Hundreds debate ‘ALDI coin policy’

The Facebook post attracted more than 700 comments from people who had mixed reactions.

Some people argued that any cash - coins or notes, should be accepted by all stores.

“Coins are legal tender. No store can refuse to accept coins, nor can they set limits,” one person commented.

“In future I would shop at a store that accepts legal tender. I don’t like using my card for everything and at the moment not a lot of shops accept cash,” another person added.

A man pays another man with coins at a market.
An ALDI customer's experience has sparked an online debate about whether there should be a limit on how many coins people should use when paying for goods. Source: Getty

A few people felt the cashier was correct and following similar training they themselves had experienced working in a store.

“Usually it’s because the till can't hold it, I worked as a cashier years ago and we were told nothing over $5,” one person suggested.

“If I remember correctly. Definitely not the cashiers fault, they’re just following instructions.”

Customer asks if policy works both ways

One person asked what would happen if the situation was reversed.

“So if we we pay cash in notes and they give us coins in change, we can refuse?” they asked.

Another person said they chose to use self service checkouts to avoid any “judgement”.

“This example is why I use self serve at Woolworths or Coles, no judgement from employees because you're down to your last coins and just want to eat that night,” they wrote.

‘Not ALDI policy’: Supermarket clears up confusion

When Yahoo News Australia approached the supermarket for comment on the incident, an ALDI spokesperson said they had apologised to the customer and no such policy existed.

“Limiting the payment amount of coins is not an ALDI policy.”

Under the Currency Act, Ms Coote’s payment of $7 worth of gold coins and $2.25 worth of silver coins should have been accepted.

The photo shows a close up shot of several $2 coins.
ALDI has responded saying there is no rule limiting the amount of coins which can be used in a transaction. Source: Getty

Can stores refuse coins?

According to the Reserve Bank of Australia there are restrictions on how many coins can be used in one transaction.

The Currency Act 1965 (section 16) says coins are legal tender for payment but are limited to the following amounts:

  • Not exceeding $5 if any combination of 5c, 10c, 20c and 50c coins are offered.

  • Not exceeding 10 times the face value of the coin if $1 or $2 coins are offered.

“For example, if someone wants to pay a merchant with five cent coins, they can only pay up to $5 worth of five cent coins and any more than that will not be considered legal tender,” the website states.

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