Report: Safeway Overcharging Even After Court Order

(CBS 5)

Supermarket chain Safeway and its Vons stores have been sued twice in the last decade by the state of California for overcharging customers. Yet, in spite of a court order that penalizes the stores each time it’s caught overcharging, a new report says that customers say it’s still going on.

According to the court order, if an item at Safeway or Vons in California comes up higher than the advertised price, the customer gets a $5 gift card, except for items that cost under $5; those are free. This is limited to one item per customer. All other overpriced items are just reduced to the actual advertised price.

CBS 5 in San Francisco went undercover in five different Safeway stores and was overcharged five times. None of the stores offered to give the shopper the overcharged item for free and two of the Safeways refused when asked.

The shoppers also looked for the signs detailing the policy, which are supposed to be placed in a “conspicuous location in all checkout lanes.” Most of the stores’ signs were hard to locate while one store didn’t even have the signs.

Safeway’s response to the CBS story is pretty hilarious.

It apologized for the overcharges and said the errors have been corrected, without addressing the consumer complaints or the big question of why it’s still overcharging customers after two separate lawsuits.

Nor did Safeway comment on why none of the stores offered to give the shoppers their item for free, as per the court orders. And as for those signs that were anything but conspicuously posted, Safeway had to “respectfully disagree” with that opinion.

It gets better.

CBS asked for a way consumers could contact the company to report overcharging or any of the issues related to the court order. Safeway gave them the general 877-SAFEWAY number, but when CBS called, the CSR who answered the phone had no idea about the court order and said that “refunds were at the discretion of store managers.”