Coles customer 'humiliated' after self-checkout payment error

One customer had packed all their shopping into bags at the self-service checkout before finding out there were payment problems.

Going to your local supermarket for an after-work grocery shop is a chore not everyone looks forward to. On top of that, what if after collecting everything you need, packing your bags at the self-checkout and going to pay, only to find out your card is not working because of an ongoing system issue you were not told about by staff?

Gary Duffield was doing just this on Tuesday at Coles in Trinity, Western Australia when his card declined. He checked his account, called his wife, and tried multiple times to pay only for the light at the top of the self-checkout to remain red despite there being money in his account.

After looking around and seeing that others were experiencing something similar, Gary asked a Coles worker for help, who notified him of "problems" with their service that meant some customers could not use their cards.

"I asked why people weren’t notifying people before entering," Gary told Yahoo News Australia. "I wasted 45 minutes of my life [and] it was humiliating."

Left image of Coles storefront. Right image is of a Coles trolley full of groceries.
Customers say they had not been notified of payment issues before scanning their items through check out. Source: Getty/Supplied

Coles had allegedly known about IT issues earlier

Gary says the Coles worker asked if he had another card, but since he didn't he was told to "leave" his groceries and "go".

The duty manager who came over allegedly said the same thing, much to the frustration of Gary, who was then told the reason there was no signage about it was because some cards still worked.

"I had to unpack the groceries to get my bags back while the duty manager stood there and watched me," Gary lamented.

Coles told Yahoo the issue causing the payment problems has now been "rectified" but chose not to respond to questions about their process of notifying customers when there are problems with their payment system.

"Due to a technical issue affecting our Trinity WA store earlier this week, some customers were unable to use card payment," a Coles spokesperson said. "We apologise to any customers for this inconvenience."

Other customers experienced issues with payment at Coles store

After sharing his ordeal on local Facebook pages, many came forward to share how it too had inconvenienced them, with some sharing that they were even asked for their phone pin code by the register to be able to pay at the store that evening.

"The lady said a few people had to do it so I did too," a person who has chosen to remain anonymous shared with Yahoo. "I changed my passcode straight after."

Others who had not visited the store at the time but were frustrated nonetheless commented on how this is another example of why cash is so important. "This is why we need to keep using cash! Cash is King!" one said.

Payment issues also at Coles Sydney store

A separate Coles outage last Thursday that made card transactions impossible left customers walking out instead of getting cash to pay.

Shoppers at Coles' Westfield Bondi Junction supermarket, in Sydney's eastern suburbs, were met with a hand-scrawled sign on Thursday that read: "Cash only, sorry for any inconvenience." Instead of walking to the nearby ATM, shoppers went to the card-friendly Harris Farm instead.

It is understood these two outages were not related.

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