Coles customer spots tiny checkout detail that could be costing you: 'Overcharging'

The supermarket giant has responded to a customer's questions about checkout errors.

An eagle-eyed Coles customer has vented his frustration after a self-service checkout at his local Sydney store showed the empty scales actually had a starting weight of 15 grams.

"Unfortunately, on more than the rare occasion I notice that empty scales on your self-service checkouts do not show zero," the shopper posted on Facebook alongside a photo of the empty scale. "Typically, it is 5g off, but on this occasion it was 15g above zero (not surprisingly never below zero though)."

Coles storefront; Empty Coles checkout scale displaying weight of 0.015kg
Coles has responded after a customer raised concerns about overcharging due to incorrect weights displayed at self-service checkout scales. Source: Getty, Facebook

As Aussies battle with the rising cost of living and many track every cent they're spending at the supermarket, the customer said this small weight discrepancy could make a big difference to Coles' bottom line. He calculated what the cost would be if a shopper bought six or seven fresh produce items weighing 1kg each.

"To put this in perspective, if the average cost of items sold by weight was $10/kg and an average customer bought 6-7 of these items per transaction, you'd be overcharging, on average, $1 for every person who uses this checkout. How can you ensure that customers are not being overcharged?" he asked.

The shopper, who wished to remain anonymous, told Yahoo News he has seen Coles checkout scales off by 5 grams on several occasions, which is an issue he believes could foster distrust in customers. "Big supermarkets are amongst the most trusted brands in Australia, and they can't afford to be overcharging customers due to lax testing/calibration processes. While amounts may be small, they add up quickly if the issue is widespread."

He suggested customers always make sure the checkout scale is at zero before scanning their shopping.

Coles responds

A Coles spokesperson assured Yahoo News that employees are constantly monitoring the accuracy of the scales. "Our team members are monitoring the self-service checkouts throughout the day to identify any issues and reset them when needed," the spokesperson said.

The retailer urged customers to raise issues with staff members so they can be fixed straight away. "While we do have technology to flag issues at our self-service checkouts, we encourage our customers to let one of our friendly team members know if they see an issue so we can make sure it is rectified promptly."

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