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Woolworths explains self-serve checkout glitch as customer overcharged

This viral checkout photo comes at an awkward time for Australia's biggest supermarket.

Well, the timing is certainly less than ideal. With the supermarket giants under pressure over accusations of price gouging, Woolworths has been forced to apologise after one customer's checkout total didn't quite add up.

Most shoppers probably wouldn't question the total calculated at the self-serve checkout after scanning all their items. However one attentive customer recently realised the technology was asking him for slightly too much money for his quick grocery shop.

After scanning just four different items at the Brisbane store, he realised something didn't add up. He purchased two mangoes for 0.80c each, a Nutella snack for $4.20 and stationary supplies for $5.25 and $4.65. Add it all together and you get $15.70. But that's not what he was asked to pay, with the checkout showing a total of $17.90 due.

Photo of the Woolworths self-serve checkout showing an incorrect total of $17.90 due.
Woolworths said the mixup appears to be an 'isolated incident'. Source: Reddit

Confused, the man took a photo of the apparent error and later took to social media to warn others saying he hoped no one else was unwittingly getting "taken advantage" of.

"Was annoyed that the amount due on my Woolies purchase did not equate to the individual items I purchased," he wrote.

Woolworths responds to awkward checkout 'error'

Yahoo News Australia understands the shopper flagged the problem with staff in store and was ultimately given the mangoes for free, meaning he walked away paying just $14.10. According to the supermarket, a pricing glitch with the mangoes was to blame for the confusion.

"We've looked into this transaction and can confirm that the total of $17.90 was correct, however the mango price of 80 cents each that appeared on the screen was incorrect due to a technical error - they were on clearance for $1.90 each," a Woolworths spokesperson told Yahoo.

"We understand why this customer was concerned and we apologise for the confusion caused. Our team resolved this with the customer in store, providing the mangoes free of charge.

"This appears to be an isolated incident at our Macarthur Metro store, involving the clearance price of a batch of our Calypso Mangoes."

Woolworths and Coles have been urged to have more transparency amid rising prices. Source: Getty
Woolworths and Coles have been urged to have more transparency amid rising prices. Source: Getty

Consumers and farmers bear brunt of supermarket pricing

Struggling consumers can look forward to a pending government review into supermarket pricing with farmers also calling for a more formal inquiry into the sector, with Agricultural Minister Murray Watt arguing this week that "some of the prices supermarkets are charging just don't pass the pub test".

Speaking to Yahoo, professor Roberta Crouch from the College of Business, Government and Law urged Australians to be vigilant about pricing practices when browsing the aisles.

"There are some calls for some transparency ... and it'll be interesting to see if that happens," she told Yahoo. "But more and more the messages is, consumers have just got to be onto it."

According to the latest data, the weekly grocery shop has continued to balloon, costing $37 more than the previous year.

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