Check your grocery receipt!

Trying to pack the items after the checkout staff scanning them along as quickly as possible. Heavy items in first so fruits and vegs are placed on top and will not be squashed. The eggs even higher over to avoid cracks. Separating food and non-food items. Pay for the purchase. Put purse/wallet away. Move away because there are items coming through for the next customers even before you can evacuate the packing area.

All these happen at the checkout so quickly that, seriously, how many people actually look at their receipt and check if it’s correct before they leave the premises?

I’ve always tried to at least scan through my receipt, although not always, especially when I’m in a hurry. Lately however, I’ve been particular about checking my receipt, after one too many incidents where I ended up being overcharged. Surprisingly, or maybe not, I’ve never been undercharged.

It all started when I was being charged a lot for some toothbrush that I thought I’ve found a great promotional deal on. Upon recheck of the price, apparently the item on promotion wasn’t the one that I’ve bought. That was a case of mislabelling, or so I was told. Except this “practice” seems to be more widespread than ever. It happened several times that I started scrutinising every detail on the labels to ensure that I’ve picked up the right item. I’m nearly not surprised anymore on seeing similar items placed side by side, with ambiguous promotional sign placed in front. Pick the wrong one and you could be paying a good deal more.

As extension to that, I also started paying more attention to my grocery receipts. It is astonishing, how often I’d still be overcharged. I would have imagined, now that I have ensure I’ve picked the right items in relation to the prices displayed, and with the barcoding system, this shouldn’t happen. But no, I’m still being charged more. They are usually items that are marked to have reduction in prices, except somehow at the check out, the deduction didn’t happen – I would have been charged the full price!

Of course, the shops normally have policy that if you found such discrepancies, they will refund the difference. But the onus to this is, as a consumer, you need to be aware of every little details of your purchase and you will have to alert them of this. Surely as a merchant, they also have the responsibility to ensure their system is working correctly and that the customers are paying more than they should. However, when overcharging is happening nearly everytime I shop, I have pretty much lost the confident and trust in the merchant.

I query such discrepancy every time, even when the amount is negligible. And even when the queue behind me is long and everyone’s getting impatient. I refuse to let them think they can get away with such small deception each time. Little by little, if people don’t notice nor query it, they can make a pretty profit out of it!

2 Comments so far

  1. mrskarenf on October 22nd, 2008 @ 10:54 pm

    Interesting article. We here in California are having the same exact problem with the 3rd largest Retail Store. It looks like a widespread problem, it makes me wonder if there is a larger power at play, something we consumers are not aware of. The store in question here, has been sought out, and been required by the Court of Law to recover the money owed to the consumers. Very odd, is anything being done about the store in your post?

  2. Lil (lilianl) on November 11th, 2008 @ 10:11 am

    karen, none that i’m aware of. as it is, each time i queried something, i would be given the refund but the receipt taken away from me. perhaps i should be more conscious at keeping the receipts or at least photographing them, but i seldom shop there nowadays.

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