Here is the short version of this article and the answer to the title question: you do not, unless you have a heap of time to spare navigating ALDI's convoluted complaint process (actual customer example included below).
Crying over s̶p̶i̶l̶l̶e̶d̶ expired milk
If you buy a gallon of milk and it spoils the next day--a week before the expiration date--then you feel like you did not get what you deserve. Your purchase entitled you to expect the milk to be fresh until the advertised expiration date.
Why do you feel this way? Aristotle said that justice is getting what you deserve, and I think most human beings have a decent intuition about this. Unless you are some kind of crotchety jerk...if you feel like something is unfair, you are probably right.
It might even be the case that the grocery store you purchased the milk from agrees with you and readily refunds your purchase once you explain your complaint.
Most people never complain to grocery stores--even when they have reason to--ALDI especially
But for every one company that simply does the right thing, there are hundreds that do not. They hide behind cumbersome dispute processes that they try to force customers into, based on the idea that if the dispute process is time-consuming and painful enough, most customers will just give up and eat the cost of the spoiled milk.
And unlike spilled milk, spoiled milk, pre-expiration and un-refunded, is worth crying over.
But if you are one of those precious few shoppers who do actually complain, ALDI--like most grocery stores--will soon make you regret it
One ALDI shopper in Virginia named Pam bought a product that spoiled prematurely. "No problem," she thought, "the package clearly advertises a warranty to cover situations like this." She got in her car and drove back to the store (time + gas = cha ching). At first, she just asked for a replacement. The customer service employee told her that was not an option. Nor was a simple refund, even though she had only made the purchase the day before. The ALDI customer service person handed her a paper copy of this form:
She was instructed to fill out the form, scan it in, and either fax or email it ALDI corporate headquarters for warranty consideration. Oh yea, and they also required her to include her bank account and routing numbers on the form. Uhh...
Did she follow-through? No way. Like most people who have a legitimate complaint about a grocery store, she ultimately decided to keep it to herself: the time and effort required to complain far exceeded the payoff of ALDI eventually giving her a refund.
She abandoned the claim, and ALDI probably never heard about it.
Most ALDI complaints die silently, unbeknownst to ALDI headquarters
Consumer Reports recently surveyed 50,218 consumers about complaints they have with their grocery store. (And ALDI, by the way, ranked among those grocery stores about whom the consumers complained the most). I think their survey data is skewed, and I explained why I thought so in a comment below the article:
Keep in mind: the pool of respondents to a survey about grocery store complaints will be skewed toward those with more discretionary time to spare for things like participating in a survey.
Although a customer might spend multiples of $10,000 in his/her lifetime at a given grocery store, the value of any one item in his shopping cart at any given time is low. This creates a paradox for people who do not have much time to spare for things like surveys and direct complaints to the grocery store.
The paradox is that if a customer were to consider the value of asking his grocer to "get it right," by speaking up with a particular complaint, then the payoff of taking the time to complain might be multiples of $10K over that customer's lifetime; however, the value of remedying a regretably spent $5 for a jar of pasta sauce is too low to justify many people taking the time to speak up--because the maximum payoff of the grocer making that right would be $5. So in the case of low-value complaints, you should expect that most people will never tell you when they encounter an issue with your grocery store.
And certain grocery stores attract certain segments of consumers, some more affluent (and therefore able to take the time to complain) than others. So you might expect that grocery stores who serve less affluent consumers would show lower incidence of complaints per customer.
The counter to this argument, however, is that some segments might be so affluent that they do not care to lift a finger when they spend money for a thing and end up not getting what they expected. These are people who might place too high a value on their time, not because they are busy making ends meet (as in the less affluent segments), but because they can afford to not get their money's worth in a given transaction (you might find more of these consumers shopping at a place like Whole Foods, for example, also known as "Whole Paycheck").
One data point I could offer to support this idea that the Consumer Reports survey respondents might be skewed in this way is this: Consumer Reports ranks Lowes Food as among the highest in customer satisfaction (measured by fewest complaints), but Veeto gets a fairly high and consistent number of complaints about Lowes Foods. Example: "One Mom's Review of Lowes Foods To Go". Most people who complain to Veeto never bother to complain to Lowes Food, because the process is far too inefficent and therefore costly in time required to complain.
It is not just grocery stores that fit this description
Since many companies you do business with do not make explaining your complaints easy, the first thing you should know about Veeto is that we originally only built it for us--we had mundane complaints, just like you do now, but no simple way to voice them.
We never imagined that other people would care as much as we did about the tool we built. In fact, in the beginning, years ago, it did not even have a name. We were just a young team of entrepreneurs who were each raised to believe in things like fighting for your principles and standing up for yourself, and few lessons were as formative for us in life than those times we spent what little money we had, did not get what we were told we would, and then discovered there was no simple way to get that money back.
This is how Veeto helps solve grocery store complaints
Veeto makes justice affordable by automating its pursuit, one line of code at a time. The Veeto team is passionate about solving "low-value claim" legal problems by making it dead simple for consumers to state their legal demands to companies whose products/services don't meet expectations.
How does it work? Veeto generates customized legal demand letters, sends them on our members' behalf, helps A/B test different variants, and tracks letters as they are delivered. Simple: the whole process can takes a few minutes, and you can do it in your underwear.
Bottom line: getting what you are legally entitled to should not entail the economic question of affordability--whether time or dollars. Years ago, we recognized that close to 99% of all consumer claims in which less than $2,500 was in dispute go unresolved--like almost all claims against a grocery store like ALDI--because, at that price point, most people can't justify hiring an attorney or putting in the legwork themselves. "It's just not worth it," is the typical signal that you have done the math and have decided to give up (maybe even with the actual complaint form in your hand, waiting for you to give it your bank account information).
The worst kind of injustice, is justice that you cannot afford
Our mission is to eliminate that calculus by making it so cheap and easy for consumers to win legal claims that there is no price point too low to justify standing up for yourself. Expired milk? Veeto it...right now.
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