Shoppers warned to ‘stay vigilant’ following self service checkout error

Feb 13, 2024
Responses from fellow users echoed similar frustrations felt at the checkout. Source: Getty Images.

An Aussie shopper is cautioning fellow supermarket customers to “stay vigilant” after a self-service checkout error left them questioning the accuracy of their total.

During a recent visit to Coles, the customer made a startling revelation – they had been billed at the full price for two items that were supposedly discounted. This discrepancy only came to light upon a thorough examination of their receipt.

“I ran into Coles yesterday and used the self checkout, was about to pay when I noticed the total looked a bit high,” they shared to Reddit. 

Worried about the discrepancy, the shopper flagged down an assistant who, surprisingly, asked them to fetch evidence of the discounted prices.

“I was only buying three items so it was easy to spot the error – two of the items that were supposed to be discounted did not scan at the discounted price (they had the little discount icon next to them, but showed at full price). I flagged down the assistant and she asked me what the prices were meant to be,” they explained.

“When I said I don’t know exactly, she asked if I could GO AND TAKE A PHOTO OF THE DISCOUNT PRICE TAGS AND COME BACK. I said no and instead looked them up on my phone via the website and showed her, then she applied the discounts manually.”

The incident prompted the shopper to question the frequency of such errors, especially after witnessing a similar post by another Redditor recounting a comparable experience. The shopper expressed concerns, asking, “Is this normal? How often can this be happening?”

Responses from fellow users echoed similar frustrations felt at the checkout.

One fellow shopper recounted a situation where they had to prove the correct price of blueberries, leading to a price adjustment of $0.

“This happened to me once, pack of blueberries were scanning as $7 instead of $3.50. Told the people near the self checkout, so I showed them the price on the fridge. I think they just need proof. The lady who was able to change the pricing ended up changing the price to $0,” they shared.

Another user expressed frustration at the low staffing levels, noting that customers were being asked to do the footwork to rectify issues.

“How frustrating that the staffing is so low that they are asking you to do the footwork to help rectify their issue. Obviously it’s not the checkout persons fault, but to ask a customer to find out information for them simply to press a button is pretty frustrating,” they said.

One shopper became the subject of blame from staff after questioning the accuracy of their shopping total.

“That happened to me more than once with marked down produce, and they started blaming me for tampering with the bar codes to get free food,” they explained.

Another shopper has noticed the matter occurring far too often.

“This is happening quite a lot for me at woolies too. I’ve had a few items not to the bundle price, I also had baby formula scan full price,” the shopper shared.

A Coles spokesperson told 7News that measures are in place to monitor and maintain the accuracy of register scales. They emphasised the ongoing monitoring of self-service checkouts by team members and encouraged customers to alert staff if any discrepancies were observed.

“We At Coles we have policies and procedures in place to monitor and maintain the accuracy of our scales to make sure that our customers are charged correctly,” the spokesperson said.

“Our team members are also monitoring the self-service checkouts throughout the day to identify any issues and reset them when needed.

“While we do have technology to flag issues that may arise at our self-service checkouts, we encourage our customer to let one of our friendly team members know if they see an issue that doesn’t seem right on their receipt or when weighing an item so we can make sure it is rectified promptly.”

The latest incident adds to the existing disagreements about convenience versus a personal touch in retail when it comes to the use of self service checkouts. Our Starts at 60 readers are no exception, with diverse opinions on this hot topic.

Some over-60s swear by the efficiency of self-service checkouts, praising quick transactions and shorter lines for their convenience.

On the flip side, some value the human connection in shopping. They fondly remember the days when friendly cashiers handled transactions and advocate for a return to more personalised retail experiences.

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