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Coles caught red-handed raising 'locked' prices

Thousands of customers to be refunded following CHOICE's complaint to the ACCC, plus we list the affected products.

CHOICE staff
CHOICE staff
Last updated: 10 December 2023


Checked for accuracy by our qualified fact-checkers and verifiers. Find out more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Coles has announced it will refund thousands of customers following a CHOICE complaint to the ACCC on the supermarket giant's pricing practices. 

CHOICE made the complaint in October after noticing Coles had increased the price on a product it had promised would remain "locked" for a certain period of time. 

"We are pleased to see the ACCC has followed up on our complaint, resulting in a much needed apology from Coles and thousands of customers across Australia getting their money back," says CHOICE deputy director of campaigns Andy Kelly.

Shonky supermarket behaviour

"This kind of behaviour from Coles is exactly why we gave them a Shonky Award this year. Coles has been touting how they're supposedly helping with the cost-of-living crisis, all while banking huge profits and not following through on pricing promises made to their customers," says Kelly.

In November, we named Coles as one of the winners of our Shonky Awards for cashing in while many Australians are struggling with the current cost of living. 

"A retailer as big as Coles failing to keep its pricing promises is simply unacceptable, particularly during a cost-of-living crisis where so many people are already worried about the price of food and groceries."


The dodgy pricing discovery that triggered our complaint to the ACCC.

"If CHOICE hadn't picked up on this significant error, it's possible thousands of people would still be out of pocket without even realising."

The product that triggered the CHOICE complaint was the Coles BBQ Briquettes, 4kg, which had been advertised in February as being "locked" at a price of $10 until 31 October 2023, but had increased in price to $10.60 before the end of the advertised promotional period. 

The ACCC has since confirmed that 20 products had their prices incorrectly increased before the end of the promoted discount period, including popular grocery items such as Kelloggs cornflakes and Bulla thickened cream. You can view a list of the affected products below. 

"CHOICE will continue to call out retailers who do the wrong thing by consumers, and other supermarkets should be on notice that they will not get away with any kind of bad behaviour," says Kelly. 

How to get your money back

After being notified they had been overcharging customers, Coles sent an apology email to its Flybuys members, who it identified as having bought the affected products, and said that the full cost of the product(s) has been refunded. They have also since published a list of the products on their website which we have reproduced below. 

If you have purchased any of the products detailed in the list below (note the product code, product name and date range), visit your local Coles service desk to enquire about a refund. If you scanned your Flybuys card or purchased through Coles Online, you do not need to contact the service desk as a refund will be processed to your Flybuys card or Coles Online account.

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Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.