One of the many joys of a visit to ALDI – cheap booze aside – is the treasure trove of weirdness in the middle of the store that make up the German grocer’s weekly “special buys”.
However, there are now claims the weekly specials could be in violation of Australian consumer law because, despite their heavy promotion, there is limited stock and not available in all stores.
The apparent illegality came to light on the ABC’s consumer show The Checkout on Tuesday night where it alleged ALDI’s practices were, possibly, illegal.
The problem for the ALDI is that it heavily promotes the discounted range in its weekly catalogues that are handed to shoppers at the checkout.
The suggestion is that the catalogues are designed to drive people into the stores to purchase discounted goods that aren’t actually available.
Under section 35 of Australian Consumer Law, it is illegal to advertise goods or services that have been discounted where they are “not available in reasonable quantities and for a reasonable period at that price”.
To cover itself, ALDI always uses the disclaimer in its catalogues that reads: “While stocks last. Please note stocks are limited and will vary between stores. Despite our careful planning we apologise if selected stocks may sell out on the first day, due to unexpectedly high demand.”
ALDI has denied the claims, arguing it is difficult to tell which items will do well and which won’t.
As yet, the Australian Consumer And Competition Commission – who would investigate the claims – has not yet made any comment.