Consumers have been left frustrated over promotions run by supermarket giants Woolworths and Coles, complaining about stock drying up well before each of their intended official end dates.
Woolworths has been offering glass containers to shoppers who racked up 20 or more points through its Rewards program, while Coles has been handing out Masterchef knives to shoppers who earn 20 or more “knife credits” with FlyBuys.
Each of the promotions were well received by customers initially, however much like previous collectables promotions, the retailers ran out of stock before their advertised end dates.
The Woolworths container promotion was supposed to run until February 16 and the Coles promotion until February 9.
However hundreds of shoppers have hit out at the companies after making unsuccessful attempts at cashing in on the promotion, with some claiming to have visited several stores.
Each of the retailers have now been accused of running exploitative schemes based on the knowledge there wouldn’t be enough promotional material to go around.
“Woolworths I saved 65 Container points and just like the damn Ooshies, you ran out before I got to use all my points. Why do you keep failing at this so badly. You said it would be restocked, I go to order and there's NONE. I had ordered one last time and nada,” one upset shopper complained to Woolies on social media.
“So how can I get my free containers? There are none left, I’ve spent two grocery shopping trips at Woolies just for these,” another wrote.
“Woolworths your container promotion is really a scam. Got my 39 points and I’m one point off 40 with three weeks left and I’ve been advised you’re completely out of stock,” another customer complained.
Some claimed to have been told by Woolworths staff the promotion had already ended, despite being advertised to run for another few weeks.
“Store staff said stock will arrive soon so I've spent money to accumulate more points as the cutoff date is 29th January 2021 and confirmed by in-store staff. However, I was told on the 29th after I purchased groceries that the promotion finished some time ago as stores could not be restocked at all,” one shopper wrote on the company’s Facebook page.
They added the matter seemed to be “a borderline scam by Woolworths” because the supermarket was “still enticing their customers to spend money” while knowing shoppers wouldn’t be able to redeem containers.
Customers had similarly choice words for Coles, which has been accused of running a “rip off” with its Masterchef knives promotion.
“No stores have the knives to redeem your points. I spent $400 bucks so you can rip me for a free $5 knife? This is such a scam,” a Twitter user wrote.
“The 20 point knives ran out in our area well before the end of the promo, or are you ok with encouraging people like myself to keep building their points balance to have them sitting there for no reason but to remind us how greedy you are?,” another unhappy shopper posted on Facebook.
Woolworths responds to criticism
Woolworths has responded to criticism, claiming some stores were temporarily out of containers and more stock was still expected to arrive before the end date.
“Since launching last year, we’ve had an incredible response from Woolworths customers who have collected our free glass containers. The aim of the glass containers is to support those who are looking to make every meal count, by providing storage solutions to reduce food waste, but also help customers' shops go further,” a spokesperson said.
“Due to shipping delays caused by Covid, port restrictions, and high customer demand, some stores are temporarily out of glass containers. Rest assured, we have more shipments of additional glass containers on the way that will be distributed to stores across Australia in the coming days and weeks.
“As with many of our collectables, this is a while-stocks-last promotion. Customers can still redeem containers as more stock is distributed in the weeks ahead.”
Coles has not responded to Yahoo News Australia’s request for comment.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.