Have you ever seen your favourite Cadbury top-deck chocolates are on sale, headed to your nearest Woolworths or Coles, only to realise they’ve sold out?
Your next-best option is Cadbury’s plain block - but it’s not on special. So, you cop the $4.30 instead of the $3 special, and bitterly eat your choccies.
But there is one hack most Aussies probably don’t know about.
Last week, Coles made headlines for offering free hot roast chickens if a customer missed out on theirs that day.
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But, this rain-check policy isn’t new.
While Coles went above and beyond for offering the roast chickens free for customers the next time they visited, supermarkets have been giving rain checks since the beginning of time. Or since I can remember, at least.
What’s a rain check policy?
If a store sells out of an item that is currently on special, it is generally required to offer customers who missed out a “rain check”.
That rain check is a voucher for the item at that special price, and when the store restocks the item, the customer is entitled to receive that item for the special price.
Which means, if your favourite Cadbury top-deck chocolate is on special, and the supermarket you’re at is out of stock, then they’ll issue you with a voucher to get that item at the special price next time you’re in store.
Am I always entitled to a rain check?
Sometimes you’ll see sales that state goods are available at a discounted price “today only” or “limited stock available”, which limits a supermarket’s obligations to that day, or until those stocks go.
By law (the Australian Consumer Law Act) supermarkets must have enough stock so that customers can purchase the item at the advertised price - that is, if they think 1,000 customers are going to purchase Cadbury’s top-deck chocolate, they’ve got to have 1,000 blocks in stock.
If they don’t, they’re actually breaching the law - unless they provide customers with a rain-check for that item.
Otherwise, the store is engaging in bait advertising, which is where items are advertised for sale at a discounted price, and they’re not available in reasonable quantities for a reasonable period.
But, if they’ve had plenty of stock for that special item, and just had an influx of customers that day, they might not have to issue you with a rain check, though most stores do to keep customers loyal.
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