Woolworths has exposed an allegedly dishonest customer on its Facebook page, prompting an expert to warn that some ‘deviant’ shoppers are ‘jumping on the bandwagon’ of online criticism of supermarkets.
In a Facebook post dated April 22, the customer claimed to have bought two spoiled avocados from a Woolworths store. The supermarket responded with proof that the exact same photo had been posted by another customer in 2014.
A retail expert told The New Daily this practice was known in the industry as “customer deviance” and was something that happened regularly.
The avocado fibber, who also accused a Woolworths employee of judging their choice of footwear, threatened to shop at a competitor instead.
“I purchased these avocados from your store at Double Bay yesterday,” the customer wrote. “Upon making a sandwich today I came to find these avocados are rotten! THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE, I demand my money back!!!!”
Woolworths responded: “We think you may have taken your photo from another customer’s Facebook post from 2014”, and included a link to the original photo.
Queensland University of Technology retail expert Dr Gary Mortimer told The New Daily supermarkets were very aware of these types of tricks.
“Often these types of behaviours can be motivated by an attempt to jump onto the bandwagon,” Dr Mortimer said.
“For example, Woolworths seems to be getting a lot of flack at the moment. The redback spider found in broccoli, then something to do with bbq chickens on Anzac Day and then today someone questioning the cost of pre-sliced cauliflower.
“Often when we see a growing trend or theme around one retailer others want to jump on the bandwagon.”
He accepted the supermarket’s return and refund policies were quite liberal, but said there was no point in supermarkets punishing the majority of people with genuine concerns because of a few dishonest customers.
Aldi requires proof of purchase before granting a return or refund, whereas Coles and Woolworths do not.
Coles and Woolworths did not respond to The New Daily‘s request for comment. Aldi did respond, but its spokesperson said they were unable to meet the publication deadline.
Some customers ‘looking for attention’
Dr Mortimer said customers often “sought attention” on social media, regardless of the authenticity of their claim.
A quick scan of the Coles and Woolworths Facebook pages uncovered a series of posts complaining about the quality of purchased products.
Such posts very often make it into the media, either because of the ridiculousness or unusual nature of the complaint, or because of the quality of the response from the supermarket’s social media team, Dr Mortimer said.
Most supermarket responses seen by The New Daily asked for more details about the incident and sought to deal with the matters privately.
Below are some examples of posts supermarkets received in the past week. The New Daily makes no claim as to their authenticity.