Dollar General Stores That Overcharge Shoppers Will Now Have Warning Signs
The decision was made after multiple lawsuits were filed against the company.
Dollar General is one of the most popular shopping destination for big bargains, but some customers are getting charged more than they should be. We all dread the sinking feeling of finding out you've paid too much after you've already left the store, which is why officials are now taking action to keep companies in line. Dollar General locations that have been fined for overcharging will now display warning signs at registers, letting you know that you should be extra attentive when reviewing your receipt. Read on to find out more about how officials are fighting back against price discrepancies.
Two states recently flagged pricing issues at Dollar General.
On Dec. 9, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) announced that 28 Dollar General locations were being fined as a result of price scanner errors that resulted in customers being overcharged. Stores were slapped with over $80,000 in penalties—already a steep price to pay—but in Ohio, officials are taking things a step further.
The Ohio Attorney General's Office (AGO) is suing Dollar General after price discrepancies were discovered in "multiple counties," per a Nov. 1 press release. According to the lawsuit, Dollar General is allegedly violating Ohio's Consumer Sales Practices Act by charging customers higher prices at the register than what's listed on the shelf.
"Everything we buy these days costs more–Ohioans can ill-afford businesses that draw people in with the promise of low prices only to deceive them at the checkout counter," Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said in the press release. "This seems like a company trying to make an extra buck and hoping no one will notice. We've not only noticed but are taking action to stop it."
Now, some Dollar General locations are also being forced to display warnings.
Keep an eye out for a new sticker at Dollar General.
Shoppers in Ohio may notice a warning sign stuck to the register at Dollar General stores, according to a Dec. 13 press release from Franklin County Auditor Michael Stinziano.
"WARNING NONSEALED SCANNER SYSTEM," the signs read, according to the press release. Text below instructs customers to "verify you have been charged correctly," and states that the scanner has not been officially approved by the Division of Weights and Measures.
Signs also have a QR (quick response) code, which shoppers can scan for more information about the price scanner inspections. The stickers are applied only to Dollar General stores in the county that fail multiple inspections.
"Consumers who buy products from stores with the nonsealed scanner notice are urged to check prices and make sure you pay the price listed on the store shelves," Stinziano said in the release. "Weights and Measures Inspectors will be following up with these stores and continue to be out in the community protecting consumers."
Dollar General locations continue to fail inspections.
Follow-up inspections are being conducted to ensure the issues are addressed, Stinziano said, but price inconsistencies persist.
"We're still at a 70 percent failure rate," Stinziano told NBC-affiliate WCMH of the inspection process. "It's something we're not seeing just in Franklin County, and talking with other county auditors, it's across the state, and some even across the country."
Stinziano told the outlet that he isn't yet in communication with corporate officials at Dollar General. "We are trying to find the proper contact, we are working with some liaisons—folks that represent Dollar General in the state of Ohio," he said. "But it has not been as smooth as desired."
Best Life reached out to Dollar General about price discrepancies, but has not yet heard back.
Dollar General isn't the only store that's facing backlash.
In addition to Dollar General, Family Dollar was also cited for deceptive pricing. Yost announced plans to sue the company on Nov. 7, less than a week after suing Dollar General. The lawsuit was filed in Butler County Common Pleas Court, just like Dollar General, and also alleges that Family Dollar is violating Ohio's Consumer Sales Practices Act due to "bait and switch advertising."
"Today we filed another lawsuit, this one against Family Dollar," Yost said in a video posted on YouTube. "All of these dollars—the ones I worry about—are the dollars that are supposed to be in your pocket. They're being taken without justification by retailers who are advertising one price and charging another."
In a separate video, Yost conceded that mistakes happen, but added that these companies need to establish a method to refund shoppers. As for the lawsuit, Yost hopes it will prevent overcharging from occurring in the first place.
"We're looking not just for reimbursement, but we want a court order to make them stop doing this and to put adequate controls in place so that the price you see on the shelf is the price that they charge at the register," Yost said. "I'm optimistic that we've got a good case and we're going to get justice."