Check Your Own Receipt Before You Leave The Store

Although stores often claim they employ receipt checkers to make sure you got everything you paid for, you still might get ripped off. This past weekend, three stores tried to sell us items that did not match their price tag or description. Each time, we politely pointed out the difference to a manager, and each time, we were rewarded for doing so, either with a reduced price or a better item than the original one we wanted. Let us tell you about our exciting weekend, inside.

At Ikea, we were interested in a $20, natural wood step stool, until we found a bright blue floor model for $15. We couldn’t find anything but the natural finish in the warehouse, so we spoke to a manager, who told us that the blue one must have been from last year (it was kicking around in one of those “Look at how much Ikea furniture I can fit in my 200 square foot apartment!” displays) and the price had gone up. She happily wrote us out a price override, which allowed us to buy the step stool for $15 instead of $20.

We tried to buy a cheap drill at Home Depot, but when we brought home the drill that was advertised as coming with 26 bits, we were surprised to find only Phillips and flathead bits. We went back to Home Depot and returned the item, thinking we had grabbed the wrong one off the shelf. Then we noticed that they were advertising one model but stocking and selling a different one that only came with two bits. We pointed this out to a manager and suggested he give us a separate bit package for free, and he ended up giving us a package with more bits and lowering the price of the drill. Unfortunately, he didn’t seem very interested in removing the misleading sign.

The next day, we went to Bed Bath and Beyond to look at towels, and picked some nice towels that rang up at twice the price. It turned out that all of the bath towels that were advertised were actually extra large bath sheets, which cost twice as much. The employee we talked to suggested coming back the next day and seeing if they had any towels, but we instead went to a manager, who rang up the sheets at the same price as the towels.

At the end of it all, we got a drill for a reduced price and a better bit package, a 25% discount on a stool we were going to buy anyway, and two bigger towels for the same price as the smaller ones. We did this by speaking with someone who has the authority to change the price of an item—each time the corrected price rang up, the cashier selected an option called “customer satisfaction.” That such a menu item exists shows this is not an uncommon procedure; we didn’t have to argue with any of the managers, and they all seemed happy to oblige, but if we hadn’t sought them out and complained, we would have been stuck with overpriced, mislabeled items. We have friends who wouldn’t bother complaining; they’d either keep an item they’re not satisfied with, or return it and buy something more expensive. We doubt we have to tell our readers this, but just in case: don’t be afraid to complain.

(Photo: Getty)

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