A pet food vending machine in Australia’s capital Canberra has been forced to close after complaints from owners that the food was too expensive.
Key points:The owner of the pet food stall says the food is “too expensive” to buy from a storePet owners have been asking for a refund and an apologyThe pet food dispenser is located at the intersection of Bondi and Swanston StreetIn a letter to owners of the Pet Food Stand, the owner of Pet Food Basket, Daniel Bongard, says he has received “no response” to his letter and has received calls and emails from customers demanding refunds and an explanation.
Mr Bongards letter said he had written to the ACCC after receiving complaints from Pet Food Aide Sarah Kelleher, who was also the pet feed vendor for the Pet Store in Hobart, and Pet Food Vendor Rebecca Lachlan, who were also at the Pet Shop on Bondi Street in Hobarts CBD.
The owners said they had been “stalking” the Pet Stop since November, after they had noticed a large number of food bowls stacked on top of each other in the food stand.
“We were concerned that this was going to become an issue,” Ms Kellehers said.
“When we saw the signs on the side of the stall saying that pet food would be available to buy at the stall, we went in and requested a refund.”
The customer service team was extremely helpful in explaining the situation to us, and also giving us a copy of the sign that said pet food was not available.
“Ms Kelleers owners said the signs were only meant to be read by staff, not customers.”
I was hoping that the signage would be removed, and that customers would not be affected by this,” Ms Bongart said.”[The sign] stated ‘no pet food’ in small letters.
“But we couldn’t see that the sign was there, so I had to use our phone to look for it.”
At that point, I was so frustrated that we were not getting a refund.
“Ms Bongarts owner, who has two other pets, said the Pet Stand “was a huge pain in the ass”.”
It’s just so frustrating when people are just going through the motions,” she said.
Ms Kelley said she had asked Pet Food Manager, Mark Mancini, to apologise to Pet Food Stop owners for the situation.”
He said ‘sorry mate, it’s just a problem that we’ve been having for a while now’.
“We said ‘we’ve been experiencing this for years now’, so it’s a problem we have to live with.”
Pet Food Stand owner Ms Kleher said she has also contacted the ACCCC over the matter.
“They’ve done an audit on the Pet Start up and it’s been quite disappointing to see that it’s still not been fixed,” she told the ABC.
“If they’re not going to fix this, I’m not sure what they can do for the rest of us.”
Ms Lachlang said the sign on the front of the food stall “was really rude and disrespectful”.
“I’ve been trying to get [the sign] removed for a few weeks now, and they still won’t take the sign down,” she added.
“It just makes me feel that we’re being singled out.”
The ACCC said it had launched an investigation into the issue and has asked Pet Foods to refund customers who had been left disappointed.
A spokesperson for Pet Food Store, which operates at Bondi & Swanston Streets, said it was “working to address the concerns” of the owners.
“In light of the ACCCA investigation, we have removed the sign from the Pet Shops front entrance, and we have apologised to Pet Shop owners,” the spokesperson said.
Topics:food-and-beverage,animal-welfare,community-and.disputes-and/or-accidents,animal,government-and,law-crime-and‑justice,act,australiaContact Andrew TaylorMore stories from Victoria