Reporting Susan Koeppen
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — You run in and grab a tube of toothpaste or a bottle of cough syrup. If you’re in a hurry and not paying attention, you may be missing something at the cash register.
In some cases, stores overcharge you on items when they are scanned.
KDKA-TV along with several other CBS stations across the country looked into the pricing practices at Walgreens.
The pharmacy chain is facing a civil lawsuit by the Missouri Attorney General for “consumer deception.”
The store is accused of showing one price at the shelf, but charging another at the cash register.
Walk into any Walgreens and the shelves are littered with tickets showing off sale prices. But what you see is not always what you get.
KDKA went shopping at two Walgreens locations in Pittsburgh.
In each store, we looked for specific items that were on sale. We bought things like lotion, cough syrup and candy. In the end, we were overcharged $32. The lotion we purchased was on sale for $12.99, a $6 savings. But at the register, we were charged $18.99.
“It’s a simple misrepresentation of price,” says consumer advocate Mary Bach.
It’s illegal in Pennsylvania to advertise one price but charge another.
“It’s always a crap shoot for a customer. We hope that it’s going to ring up at the posted price, but we never can be sure that is going to happen,” says Bach.
The pricing problem at Walgreens is happening across the country. Our CBS sister stations in Dallas, Minneapolis, Philadelphia and Boston all found overcharges when they sent reporters shopping at local stores.
So what’s the problem? It all comes back to those tickets hanging from the shelves in Walgreens.
It turns out, those sale tickets have an expiration date, but they’re not always removed from the shelves after the sale ends.
That was the case when we went shopping. We found plenty of sale tags still up, with sales from September, even though we were shopping in October.
We contacted Walgreens about the pricing problem, and we received a statement which reads:
“We have a 112-year history of acting in our customers’ best interests and earning their trust. That will continue to be our focus in all areas. We always seek to continuously improve, and we welcome feedback on areas where we are not meeting customer expectations. In addition, if a customer believes they were charged incorrectly, we are happy to resolve it. Our policy is to honor our lowest displayed price. If a customer informs our team member of a lower displayed price in our store, we honor the lower price, even in instances when the sale has expired.”
KDKA was given the sale price when we pointed out to employees that we were over-charged.
Note: You need to use your Walgreens card to get the discounts, and we did use a card when we went shopping.