Did you know that supermarkets have a policy that allow you to get groceries for free?

Bargain Boss

The Scanning Code of Practice is just one of those policies, and it has saved me a lot of money over the years.

The Scanning Code of Practice is a voluntary code that certain stores (including Woolworths, Coles, some IGA’s, and Aldi) have signed up to, where if an item scans higher than what the shelf price says, the customer is entitled to receive the first item for free, and any subsequent identical items at the lower price. This means that if you have two similar items scan higher than the shelf price, such as two packets of chips that are different flavours, both would be free, as they are not identical.

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It’s important to note that the Scanning Code of Practice does have some exclusions, such as tobacco, liquor, 3rd party gift cards, items without a barcode or PLU (or if the PLU is entered incorrectly), and items with a shelf price of $50 or more. There are also some rules around promotions, such as buy one get one free or spend a certain amount and get a percentage off - in these instances it’s generally the promotion that is honoured, rather than an item being given for free. Some stores may have further terms and conditions to their Code (such as Aldi with their special buy lines), but these are the common exclusions.

Supermarkets that abide by the Code usually keep a copy at the registers or the service desk. It’s a good idea to try and spot the Code before hand, as while some staff are amazing and will honour the Code without you needing to even mention it - some are either not aware, or do not apply it unless prompted, so you may need to politely ask ‘would that be a scanning policy item?’. I have had several staff members try and reduce the price of the item to the cheaper shelf price, or claim that the Code does not apply, and in those instances it’s worth asking to speak with a manager or if you aren’t confidence in doing that, contacting the store’s customer service line after. Another common mistake is that some staff believe the item needs to be paid for first, and then disputed. This is incorrect - the Code states that the item is free if it scans incorrectly, with no mention of purchasing it prior.

Knowing about the Scanning Code can save a substantial amount of money with very little effort. I usually watch the screen at the registers, or take a minute to check my receipt for any discrepancies. So far over the last month I have received approximately $45 worth of free groceries by using the Code - that has included deli items, a bag of ice, and meat.

It’s definitely worthwhile knowing your rights, as it could mean a bit of extra money in your pocket, and some free groceries in your fridge!

About me:

Hi! I’m Amanda, aka Bargain Boss. I love to shop for bargains, side hustle, and save money. I am a mum of 2, and enjoy spending time with my family and friends (when not in lock down!), reading and mixing cocktails.
My friends would often tell me that I should share my bargain finds and money saving tips, so I started this page to do just that! My content relates to bargains, side hustles, money saving tips, cocktail recipes, Disney finds (huge fan!!), kids activities and mum life in general.
Prior to starting my instagram, I worked as a conciliator/mediator for Consumer Affairs Victoria for 11 years, and have always been very passionate about helping both consumers and businesses alike.

Disclaimer: The author is not a financial advisor and the information provided is general in nature and was prepared for information purposes only. This article should not be considered to constitute financial advice. Accordingly, reliance should not be placed on this article as the basis for making an investment, financial or other decision. This information does not take into account your investment objectives, particular needs or financial situation.

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