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Slashed, dumped bags seen as waste

LAURA BASHAM
Last updated 12:00 30/11/2013

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A consumer backlash against new bags being thrown out in the rubbish has prompted calls for them to be discounted or given to charity.

However, others say it's common retail practice and fraudsters are a reason for it.

The issue has been highlighted after a stack of new bags were put out in a city street in Nelson for the rubbish collection. Passerby Richard Osmaston was horrified when he discovered they had been deliberately slashed by the retailer.

Strandbags said it was company policy for faulty or returned bags so they could not be returned again.

Reader reaction to the story has ranged from outrage to defence of the retailer.

"This upsets me," commented Ishna Jacobs on the Nelson Mail's Facebook page. "It's a shame that these bags were not given the chance of a ‘Chuck me some number 8, I can fix that' repair job. I know of a number of kids in my hood that could do with a ‘faulty' bag for school, those who know the meaning of going without soon learn to become very resourceful when it comes to fixing things."

"What an utter waste," commented Sharon Tarapipipi. "Shows ‘we' have far too much in this country if we can just waste stuff like that. How about donating to the Red Cross or other charities who can then distribute them to other places around the world for people who would treasure such items."

Mark Dyer suggested: "Put a mark over the tags inside like other stores and sell at a reduced rate or give them away to the op shop."

Carmyn Hunt said: "They could just reduce the price down to $5 or even $1 to get rid of stock, or like others have said, giving it to hospice or Red Cross."

However, Lulu Armstrong said she stood by Strandbags. "This is common practice for faulty goods at every retail store. The reason is plenty of dishonest people go through other people's rubbish and there is nothing to stop them committing fraud by trying to claim they bought it and attempt to get a refund . . . this is also why they are not gifted to charity . . . desperate people do desperate things and these are desperate times . . . sadly this sort of thing happens a lot more than you think in Nelson . . . I have seen it come to my counter frequently . . . there are scammers everywhere."

Katie Mincher also said: "This is very common practice in retail for stock deemed faulty."

Gary Price: "Sad, but I understand why they do it, otherwise it creates a demand for returned items."

However, Natasha Sarah Jones said: "I work in retail we would never do this. It's just a waste of money so I don't see why they do this! Sometimes our product gets so far marked down it's below cost. We are a Aussie company and we still transfer faulty stock every couple of years as it gets stored in the back room. They are losing more money throwing it away then selling it cheaper."

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Strandbags has more than 300 stores. Nelson store manager Paula Dillon said because the company was based in Australia it was too costly to return them there.

Chitara commented on the story online: "Decommissioning a product enough to protect the brand (occasionally this is written into a supply contract if the brand thinks itself big enough) and selling the item at a discount with all necessary info to satisfy Consumer Guarantee Act/customer relations can be resource consuming as well, and the biggest resource many businesses are aware of now is employee time.

"At which point managers sometimes ask themselves: Is it more wasteful to our business to solve and sell, resolve and/or to destroy?"

Naomi Arnold's view, p10.

- Nelson

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