Countdown not dishing out refunds over 'free range' eggs just yet
Countdown customers who bought Palace Poultry eggs labelled as free range are owed a refund, Consumer NZ says.
Some of the supermarket's customers have been calling out for a refund via social media after allegations the egg supplier has been selling caged eggs as free range.
But Countdown says any refunds will have to wait until after it has concluded an investigation into the claims Palace Poultry has been misleading consumers. The Serious Fraud Office is also investigating.
In the meantime, Countdown has pulled all Palace Poultry products from its shelves.
* Millions of caged eggs sold as free range
* Countdown removes Palace Poultry 'free range' eggs likely laid by caged hens
* Palace Poultry deny all allegations, say they bought and sold eggs in 'good faith'
Consumer NZ head of research Jessica Wilson said consumers had the right to a refund if they had been misled.
If the supermarket could not vouch for the product it sold, it owed consumers their money back immediately, she said.
"At the moment, the situation is they can't categorically say customers bought free range eggs."
Wilson said retailers had a responsibility to their customers, which meant they should have their own chain of custody in place to make sure the products they were selling were genuine.
Countdown spokesman James Walker said a few people had been asking about refunds on the supermarket's Facebook page.
While the supermarket was willing to make things right with customers if the allegations were proved correct, Countdown wouldn't be providing refunds ahead of the conclusion of the investigation.
"The first thing to keep in mind at this point in time is these are still allegations."
Walker said Countdown would give its supplier a fair deal and allow the investigation to run its course.
However, if Palace Poultry was selling the supermarket caged eggs, labelled as free range, the supermarket had also been misled.
"We had a contract to buy free range eggs and we paid free range egg price," he said.