It was Saturday afternoon and we were wandering through the hampers and chocolates at Myer Bondi Junction. We spotted a "weekend special" sign which read, in part:
"Buy four or more(*) Food as a Gift items in a single transaction and get 35% off"
...and in very easy-to-read, not-so-fine print....
(*) Full priced items only. Excludes already discounted items"
"Fair enough!" I thought, and I loaded up our basket with approximately $120 worth of chocolates and other eligible foodstuffs (each individually marked at full price). We had all of the items run through the register, paid the bill and we started to wander off.
And then I checked the receipt. Ummm... $29.99 less 35% should equal $19.49 (not $22.49). And $14.98 less 35% should equal $9.74 (not $11.24).
Back to the register to get the mistake fixed.
Me: Hi - we just bought all of these items and they appear to have scanned at the wrong price.
Staffer#1: Oh. What is the problem?
Me: Well ;
Staffer#1: No, those products were already discounted - so you don't get the full 35% off.
Staffer#2: See, [points at a $5.99 chocolate billed at $5.39 less 15% = $4.58] But you're still getting a big discount.
Me: [producing the item] It is still full price on the sticker and nowhere on the display stand does it mention that they've been discounted.
Staffer#1: But, see, you still get 15% off the discounted price.
Me: I'm not happy with that. I'd like you to honour the price you're displaying over there [pointing] [another two staff arrive on the scene]
Staffer#3: Can you please show me?
[I gave Staffer#3 and Staffer#2 a tour of their department while Staffer#4 and Staffer#1 had a chat. I pointed out the full-priced items and the "weekend special" signage about the less 35%.]
Me: Sorry, but can you please show me any sign/pricetag which says the items on the shelves are pre-discounted by 10% off the marked price?
[Staffer#3 then walked around for ~2mins looking for non-existent signage]
Staffer#3: You're right. There's nothing.
[Our posse heads back to the register]
Staffer#1 to Staffer#2: How did you go?
[Silence from Staffer#2]
Me: I just want you to charge me full price, according to the offer, and take the 35% off. I don't want you to discount a discount.
Staffer#2: But less 10% is the current price. I can't charge you the old price.
Staffer#1: [attempting to support Staffer#2] ...but you're not the first person to have asked about it today.
Me: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! [Thinking: WTF?! This is a systemic issue and they know about it?!]
Me: Sorry, that's NOT on. What you're doing is an elementary breach of section 52 of the Trade Practices Act. The lack of signage/pricing is clearly likely to mislead or deceive.
Me: Yeah, sorry mate, this stuff is my day job.
Staffer#2: [to Staffer#1, #2 and #4] I need to phone Dan.
[At this point Staffer#2 calls 'Dan', a supervisor or manager of some sort. Situation is explained, including the presence of an 'unhappy customer'. Call ends within 30 seconds]
Staffer#2: [to Staffer#1] Just reverse out the entire sale and over-ride the price.
[Staffer#1 and Staffer#3 get to work on the fix. ~15mins later we've been re-billed and credited for the difference]
Staffer#1: Thanks for your patience.
Me: No problem, but you should really get that signage sorted out.
Staffer#1: I know. So many people have said the same thing.
Dr Stephen Saunders consumer scientist