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'Gross neglect': $199 Aldi special triggers controversy

A Special Buy at Aldi last weekend has left some shoppers frustrated. (Images: Aldi Australia, Getty)

An Aldi special in hot demand last weekend has angered some shoppers, prompting them to request a refund.

Aldi sold a multi-function weight bench last Saturday as a one-off Special Buy. The item went for $199, compared to brand-name rivals that can sell for as much as $1,000.

The price didn't include the weights themselves. This meant that many customers turned to purchasing the separate weights on sale beside the bench in the Special Buys section.

Unfortunately, the size of the poles on the bench equipment reportedly do not match the size of the holes on the weights.

"The weights don't come with it, which is fine, but when you buy the weights from Aldi the diameter of the hole is 28mm and the weight holders on the bench have a diameter or 30mm," said one shopper.

"It renders the front end of the machine useless as you cant put any weights on it? Anyone else had this issue? Or am I missing something?"

Another customer said that he's returning his unit after discovering the "nonstandard" weight holders.

"Taking mine back. Disappointing. Like many others have said, this otherwise good product is rendered impractical," he said.

(Image: screenshot from Facebook)

"You are unlikely to find weights for it unless you use Olympic (2-inch) weights with the adapter. The other Aldi weights – barbell, dumbbells sold the same day – are all 1-inch standard size and also DON'T FIT this bench!"

An Aldi Australia spokesperson told Yahoo Finance that the supermarket didn’t intend to mislead customers.

“It could have been clearer that the weights supplied within the barbell set are for use with the barbells only,” said the spokesperson.

“If customers wish to add weight plates to their weight bench leg curler, they will fit 30mm and 50mm alternative plates using the adaptor included.”

An Aldi customer showing the bench weight pole that's too large for the separately sold weight on the right. (Image: supplied)

Aldi's customer service replied back to one customer, offering a refund:

"We appreciate the feedback in regards to the compatibility of the weight holder. At this stage, we would be able to offer a refund by returning the product back to store with the proof of purchase.

We'll take this on board for designs of the equipment for future sales.

Thanks for bringing this to our attention."

The bad news for the customers who want to return it is that the bench is very bulky. 

Aldi's own catalogue marked the bargain as "very heavy", coming in at 42.5kg – which is about the same as two sacks of rice.

"I doubt Aldi is in the business of tricking people, but this surely is a gross neglect in customer experience and a product line," said one customer.

"I would be very surprised if they forced it back in the box for something so impractical to assemble. I can charge them labour at my professional rates to repackage this mistake."

Yahoo Finance understands some of the shoppers who are stuck with useless exercise benches have formed their own private chat group to share how they will resolve the problems.

One social media user pointed out that Aldi UK a month ago sold the same multifunction bench, which had received a bad review based on exactly the same problem.

However, Aldi customer service denied that it is the same product.

"The UK website may be referring to Aldi UK products. Aldi Australia's products are made exclusively for us here in Australia."

Have you had a problem with a Special Buy from Aldi? Contact us.

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