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Major supermarket won’t refund remorseful toilet paper panic-buyers

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Woolworths has changed its refund policy amid recent weeks of mass panic-buying of toilet paper and hygiene products.

Australian supermarket giant Woolworths has changed its refund policy for customers who panic-bought mass goods amid the ongoing hysteria surrounding the coronavirus outbreak.

Thousands of shoppers around the country have swooped on major supermarkets including Woolworths, Coles and Aldi in recent weeks to stock up on products such as toilet paper and personal hygiene items.

The pack mentality surrounding the panic-buying has seen some customers purchase hundreds of rolls of toilet paper, forcing supermarkets to put pack limits in place.

Woolworths today confirmed it has also taken the extra step of refusing to refund any shopper who may have mass-bought certain items and then felt remorseful after the transaction.

"From Wednesday 11 March 2020 until further notice, we will not provide a refund where you have simply changed your mind about products purchased from Woolworths in the following categories," Woolworths said in a statement to customers, which has also been posted in stores.

"Toilet paper, paper towel, tissues and serviettes, medicinal (pain relief), cleaning (anti-bacterial wipes, sprays and cleaners, disposable gloves), feminine hygiene and incontinence, baby wipes.

"Pasta and pasta sauce, canned food (fish, vegetables, soup, fruit and canned meals), flour and bread mixes, cooking oils, rice."

Woolworths' typical refund policy is that customers receive their money back if they change their minds after a purchase and return the product unopened in its original packaging, within reasonable best before dates and with a receipt.

The curious behaviour of panic-buying to fight the respiratory coronavirus has forced all major Australian supermarkets to react.

READ MORE: Aldi's panic-buying toilet paper sale falls flat due to 'unexpected demand'

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Empty toilet paper shelves in Woolworths, Wetherill Park, Sydney.

Coles took out a full page newspaper ad pleading with consumers to only buy as much toilet paper as they need.

"The sudden and unprecedented demand for toilet paper has created a problem. But the problem isn't a shortage of toilet paper," the ad, which ran in The Australian, reads.

"The problem is that some people are buying a lot more toilet paper than they normally do and more than they need to.

A dispute over toilet paper turned violent at a Sydney Woolworths.

"At Coles, we have a responsibility to ensure every Australian can access their fair share of the things they need every day. And right now, not every Australian can; including the elderly and most vulnerable.

"We can't allow that to continue."

Woolworths also placed a four-pack limit of toilet paper on consumers, the same week that a fight broke out in a Sydney supermarket over mass-buying of bog roll.

The new measures come as major supermarkets are undertaking extra cleaning precautions in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus through infrastructure such as self-serve checkouts.

Source: 9News

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