“Just took my 82-year-old mother to Coles Glen Waverley – her total bill was 130 dollars she paid 100 in notes and 30 in gold coins. We were told by the cashier that she will accept the gold coins this time however next time she can only accept 20 dollars in gold coins,” Helen Helmy wrote on Coles’ Facebook page.
“My mother and I were quite embarrassed and my question is when has there been a law as to what money is accepted at Coles.”
The post, made at the end of August, has since attracted more than 1,200 shares and some 8,500 comments, with many people equally stunned to learn their cash can be turned down, with one even saying: “It’s pretty poor on the part of coles [sic]”.
However, as My Business recently reported, businesses have a legal right to decline payments made in coins above a certain value.
“Refusal to accept payment in legal tender banknotes and coins is not unlawful,” the RBA website states.
Given the public misperception that ‘legal tender is legal tender’, any businesses looking to enforce a limit on cash payments should make this policy known, verbally and/or in writing, prior to the point of sale, to minimise the risk of customers receiving an unwelcome surprise when making their payment.