Customer's gripe over change to Coles return policy

A Coles customers was left irate after being denied her money back on some items she tried to return.

The shopper announced she was “not happy” following her run-in, which occurred when she took some swimming nappies and paper cups back to a Sydney Coles store for a refund.

The “long-term” customer claimed she attempted to return her items on Friday, and for the “first time ever” had her request refused by an employee.

“Not happy Coles. Been a long-term customer. Just went to return a couple of items and was rejected. First time ever,” she said in a cranky post to the retailer’s Facebook page.

The front of a Coles store after shopper complains about its return policy.
The shopper argued the supermarket had inadequate signage at its entance. Source: Google Maps/Mereseini Raqina

The woman complained about the supermarket’s change in return policy, which banned customers from getting their money back on items due to a change of mind.

Coles introduced the temporary change to curb panic buying brought on by coronavirus.

The woman, however, was far from impressed and slammed the retailer for not advertising its change in return policy at the store’s entrance.

“I looked for signage to reflect this only to find it’s only at the exit after purchase. Nothing at the entrance, on the product shelves or at the register. Only to tell me after (my) purchase on the receipt,” her fiery post read.

“I explained to the manager it’s not fair telling me after the fact. The manager was extremely rude and I feel I was treated unfairly. By law you need to state the terms upon purchase before not after.”

She shared two images she took at the store in an attempt to expose it for not displaying appropriate signage about its return policy at the entry.

One photo showed a sign detailing the policy, but she claimed it was “hidden” at the exit.

Shoppers at the entrance to a Coles store in Sydney.
The woman shared this photo in an attempt to illustrate her frustration. Source: Facebook

A Coles employee responded explaining the supermarket had “temporarily suspended our change-of-mind refund policy to discourage over-purchasing”.

The policy was also designed to “allow everyone the opportunity to purchase staple items”, the employee wrote, also apologising “for any disappointment”.

The woman expressed that she was unsatisfied with the response, saying it “doesn’t sit well” that customers weren’t informed on entry to the store about the change-of-mind return policy.

“I don’t think it’s the right thing to do considering everybody is just buying things that we need and not necessarily needing to buy things that we don’t,” she wrote in reply to the Coles employee.

“I never keep the receipt but on this occasion I thought I may need to exchange it. Had I known I couldn’t, I would not have purchased it in the first place.”

‘The world does not revolve around you’

Many customers commented in defence of the supermarket, stating that the policy was visible on all receipts and had been widely publicised in the news for months.

“Change of mind returns have never been a legally enforced procedure. Every retailer has the right to refuse on that basis,” one shopper wrote in a comment.

“The world does not revolve around you,” another said.

The Coles website states that change-of-mind returns were temporarily suspended on March 13 “to discourage over-purchasing”.

“If you have already purchased additional items you no longer want, please look at donating them to community organisations or neighbours who have been struggling to purchase them during this time.”

Yahoo News Australia contacted Coles for comment on the matter.

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