Have you ever returned home from a shopping trip, only to discover on your cash register receipt that you were overcharged for an item that was advertised at a sale price? While modern electronic scanning equipment using universal product (UPC) bar codes may produce fewer errors than manual entry—as well as speeding your checkout time, lowering labor costs and making sales and inventory records more accurate—both overcharging and undercharging can occur when the price in the store’s computer or the central office computer is incorrect.
What should you do to ensure that you are charged the right price?
- Be aware of the cost of the items you are purchasing, whether on special or not.
- Watch the display screen at checkout and bring any discrepancy to the attention of the cashier or store attendant.
- Bring the store’s newspaper ad or mailer with you to verify the advertised price when you are checking out, along with any pricing notes you may have made while shopping.
- Be sure to check your receipt before leaving the store (preferably before leaving the checkout lane).
- Know the store’s policy on adjustments for errors.
- Take your business elsewhere if the store does not make price corrections after being made aware of a problem.
To bring attention to a pattern of scanning errors at a particular business, you can talk to the customer service department or store manager and even write to the company headquarters. If the problem seems to be intentional, you may also report fraudulent or deceptive business practices to the Governor's Office of Consumer Protection and to the Federal Trade Commission. The information you provide in your complaint may prove helpful in establishing a pattern of such behavior by this business.