Walgreens Implements "Scanner Price Guarantee" (But Only In California)

For the next three years beginning this February, California Walgreens shoppers will enjoy a “Scanner Price Guarantee” that rewards customers who are overcharged at the register and bring it immediately to a cashier’s attention. “If the item in question costs less than that amount, the customer will receive it free. Otherwise, $4 will be subtracted from the item’s price or the customer can opt to take home a $4 gift card instead.” The guarantee is part of a larger settlement Walgreens made with several California district attorney’s offices regarding a lawsuit over price discrepancies at the register.

District attorneys’ officials say audits performed in nearly two dozen counties showed that on several occasions, the electronic price scanners used at Walgreens checkout counters registered a higher price than the lowest posted or advertised price for the item scanned.

One deputy district attorney said she thought the overcharging was more “a question of negligence or carelessness”—”Often it’s a question of old sales tags not being removed at the end of the sale.” That doesn’t really make us feel any better—why shouldn’t we assume the same pricing errors occur at Walgreen’s across the country, and at other retail chains as well?

In addition to the three-year-long $4 price guarantee, Walgreens agreed to the following terms:

  • Walgreens does not admit to any wrongdoing
  • It has to pay $767,000, of which about $349,000 will go to district attorney’s offices (“which will go toward enforcement”)
  • It’s “required to begin regular, in-store price-check audits by employees and to keep records of the results.”

“Settlement reached in price dispute” [Inside Bay Area] (Thanks to Kyle!)
(Photo: Payton Chung)

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.