Anger as shoppers make mockery of Woolworths baby formula policy

Brooke Rolfe
News Reporter

A shopper has unleashed fury after spotting people abusing Woolworths’ policy on buying baby formula.

The customer claimed several individuals were buying two cans at a time from the Carlingford store, northwest of Sydney, then returning to the aisle to collect more on Saturday morning.

The retailer enforces a limit of two containers of the powdered milk baby formula per transaction, which was enforced following outrage over so-called daigou shoppers clearing shelves to re-sell to Chinese shoppers online for a profit.

Many complained this left some local parents with nothing to feed their hungry babies, if they didn’t have access to breast milk for some reason.

The company states on its website that “multiple transactions containing baby formula per single customer may be cancelled prior to dispatch”.

The customer was unimpressed staff were not keeping tabs on how many units were taken by the same people. Source: Facebook

This policy however seems to not have been upheld inside the Carlingford store on Saturday morning, where single customers were reportedly seen returning multiple times for more baby formula products.

“This store has many people walking in and out buying two cans of milk powder repeatedly. They fill all the trolleys up and empty the shelves,” the disgruntled shopper wrote in a post to Woolworths’ Facebook page on Saturday morning.

“Can management please use some common sense and let store management stop them from abusing the two cans per transaction rule?

“At least advise the people who are buying repeatedly that the security camera has spotted them abusing the system.”

They suggested staff could tell the rule-breakers they had to wait a few hours after buying two cans before they came back for another two.

Shoppers were called out for returning several times for more baby formula. Source: Facebook

“As I’m typing this I can see they have empty their trolleys in the vehicle and they are back for more,” the post read.

“I saw someone buying who looked genuinely disappointed that she can’t get a can. This is only 9am.”

Wooworths did not directly respond to the man’s post but a spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia there was no issue with the supply of baby formula at its Carlingford outlet on Saturday morning.

“We have a two tin transaction limit on baby formula in place and our store teams work hard to ensure customers have access to stock when they need it,” the spokesperson said.

“Baby formula stock was available at our Carlingford store this morning, and remains available this afternoon. We encourage any parents who find their chosen baby formula is unavailable on the shelves to speak with store management, so we can help get them stock as quickly as possible.”

What is a daigou?

A daigou shopper refers to an individual or syndicated group of exporters outside China who purchase items for people in China.

They typically engage in some form of loophole to avoid paying import tariffs imposed on overseas goods.

Under Australian Government dairy product export rules to China, formula can be sent if the consignment is under 10kg. Multiple consignments can be sent if the recipient differs.

Daigou shoppers can reportedly make more than $100,000 a year from their online formula trade.

Those sorts of figures were evidently far too good for even the Chinese Navy to pass up on, with soldiers pictured loading their warship with endless boxes of formula during a recent trip to Sydney.

Do you have a story tip? Email: newsroomau@yahoonews.com.

You can also follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter and download the Yahoo News app from the App Store or Google Play.