Dollar General Is Under Fire for Doing This to Shoppers: "A Serious Problem"
Officials in one area have just uncovered a widespread issue affecting customers.
Many of us are strapped for cash these days as we battle high inflation amid the holiday shopping season. So if you've found yourself roaming the aisles of popular discount stores more often recently, you're not alone. But just because better deals abound at these chains doesn't mean you can stop being a savvy shopper. As it turns out, Dollar General is currently under fire for a widespread issue that could directly affect customers like you. Read on to find out about the "serious problem" the retailer is facing.
READ THIS NEXT: These Are the Products You "Need to Stop Buying" at Dollar Tree, Shopper Says.
More people in the U.S. are shopping at Dollar General right now.
Uncomfortably high inflation has pushed more shoppers toward Dollar General. In September, CEO Todd Vasos said that the discount chain had seen more middle-income and wealthier customers shopping in its stores than ever before. "The highest trade-in that we've seen and the most robust has actually been between the $75,000 and $100,000 group," Vasos said at a retail conference, per CNN.
The consumer migration to dollar stores like Dollar General is expected to continue throughout the rest of the year as well, according to a new report from retail traffic data firm Placer.ai. "The impact of inflation will most likely continue into the holiday season, with consumers across the income spectrum looking for ways to save on gift and party shopping," the firm wrote in its report.
But if you're going to Dollar General in search of lower prices, you should be aware of a major issue that could have you spending more than you should be.
The chain is now under fire for doing this to shoppers.
Dollar stores are a good place to cash in on lower prices—as long as you're being charged correctly, that is. Officials recently discovered that 20 different Dollar General stores have been overcharging customers, the Journal-News reported on Oct. 27. According to the newspaper, every single one of the company's stores in Butler County, Ohio, was found to be asking shoppers for more money for products at checkout than the price they were listed for on shelves.
Butler County Auditor Roger Reynolds told the Journal-News that his office started conducting price checks at all Dollar General stores in the county on Oct. 14. The investigation was spurred from a letter sent by resident William Anderson, who warned the auditor's office that the company's advertised prices and checkout costs were not matching up, according to Reynolds.
Best Life has reached out to Dollar General about the investigation, but has yet to hear back.
Officials say this is a "serious problem" for Dollar General.
The price verification checks revealed that Dollar General stores in Butler County were showing double-digit error rates up to 88 percent when a store is only allowed to have around a 2 percent error rate, the Journal-News reported. According to the newspaper, a few examples of the reported price differences include Nestlé Coffee-Mate creamer scanning at $4.35 despite being listed for $2; Hefty solo cups having a shelf price of $4.25 but scanning at $5.95; Perdue chicken strips priced at $7.95 but being sold for $10.75; and Pillsbury Grands biscuits being listed on the shelf as $3 but scanning at $3.75.
"This is a serious problem," Reynolds told the Journal-News. "A customer could be charged substantially more than the listed shelf price and that amounts to a form of consumer fraud. During these inflationary times, people turn to stores like these to get some bargains. Instead, in too many instances they are being overcharged."
Shoppers claim the stores are using deceptive tactics to overcharge.
The problem with Dollar General shoppers being overcharged appears to be more complex than just a simple checkout error, however. In his letter, Anderson reported to Reynolds' office that one Dollar General store in the county had a sign posted by management that read "Prices cannot be changed at the register. All prices are final." The sign was also still up when officials from Reynolds' office visited for inspection, according to the Journal-News.
"That is dishonest—as the shelf price may say two boxes of cereal for $6.00 but when I get to the register it's $7.00 or higher," Anderson stated in his letter. "Can't they use the price on the shelf—or at least change them every week?"
Anderson also told the Journal-News that when he returned to the Dollar General store in search of Halloween candy, there were no price tags on the actual products. "They said you've got to go to the cash register to find out what it costs—like they're playing a bait and switch on me," he explained.
This isn't the first time Dollar General has been accused of overcharging customers. In August, North Carolina fined 27 Dollar General locations for price-scanning errors that resulted in shoppers paying more than they should have based on the listed prices.