A promotion by Coles supermarket in Australia featuring MasterChef cookware has faced a barrage of negative feedback online, with consumers complaining of faulty and even dangerous products. Among the multitude of grievances aired on productreview.co.au were incidents of exploding rivets, shattering lids, and a non-stick coating that peels after a mere single use. Notably alarming were the reports of handles that conduct heat, resulting in burnt hands.
The promotional scheme also taking place in New Zealand through New World supermarkets, offers customers the range of MasterChef cookware in exchange for stickers collected per $20 spent. The incentive scheme consists of awards such as a two-piece utensil set for twenty stickers, an 18cm saucepan with a lid for fifty, and a roasting dish with a meat rack for seventy.
New World, however, has donned a brave face amid the unfolding controversy, with Esther Gordon of Foodstuffs, New World’s parent company, asserting that their MasterChef range holds exceptional quality and has passed pre-testing to meet all safety regulations. She further emphasized the importance of adhering to the provided use and care instructions to ensure optimal results. Despite these assurances, the situation in Australia has steeply escalated, with some consumers demanding a recall.
The numerous horrifying reviews include an incident of a Sydney customer who heard a loud bang while cooking, shortly discovering that it was an exploded rivet securing the handle of their saucepan. Another reviewer voiced frustration after collecting ninety stickers for a “good saucepan,” which promptly degraded after several uses.
Coles customers’ reviews also voiced complaints about the disappointing unavailability of stock before the promotion’s end, despite participating in the sticker collection process. Despite these complaints, New World in New Zealand reported that they are midway through the promotion with adequate stock remaining.
In contrast, Coles’s recommendation for handwashing to prolong usability, usage of oven mitts for safety, and proper storage was met with disbelief and criticism. New World similarly insisted that the roasting dish is for oven use only and ought to be hand-washed.
Consumer rights are not to be taken lightly, even in the case of reward schemes and promotions. According to Jessica Walker from Consumer NZ, the Consumer Guarantees Act applies to such promotional items just as it would to regularly purchased goods. Consumers encountering issues with their reward cookware have the right to demand the supermarket rectify the issue. Depending on the severity of the problem, the supermarket can choose to repair, replace, or refund. In cases where only stickers were used as payment, Walker stated that they would be entitled to “the value of any other consideration” provided, rather than a refund.