If You See This on Your Receipt, Walgreens May Owe You Money
The company has been under fire for potentially overcharging customers.
Drugstores are favorably viewed for their convenience, but they're not usually the most cost-effective places to do your shopping. From soaring prescription prices to more expensive everyday items, it's easy to rack up quite a bill at stores like Walgreens. In fact, pricing surveys from Consumer Reports, ConsumerWorld, and MarketWatch have all revealed that drugstore prices for commonly bought products are often higher than those at grocery stores and big-box retailers like Walmart and Target.
With that in mind, the last thing you want to have happen when you do shop at Walgreens is to find out that you've also been overcharged for something—but some customers are reporting just that. Read on to find out what you should look for on your Walgreens' receipts to see if the company owes you money back.
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Walgreens has recently come under fire for its prices.
Walgreens shoppers know all-too-well what it's like to get hit with higher costs from the drugstore chain. In May, experts from Consumer Reports released an alert to customers, warning them that they may be spending more money than they need to on prescriptions by buying them from Walgreens instead of from online pharmacies.
Those aren't the only high costs to be aware of. On July 1, the retailer revealed that it was no longer offering free COVID testing for all, noting that Walgreens customers "will be required to verify medical necessity in order to receive no-cost COVID-19 testing." This means that only those who are symptomatic, pregnant, have a high-risk condition, or have had a recent exposure to someone with a confirmed positive COVID case will be able to get tested for free, while those getting tested for something like travel will likely face a $128.99 testing cost.
Now, some Walgreens customers are facing added costs for something else—and it might be more than the retailer is legally allowed to charge.
Some Walgreens shoppers have recently noticed a new fee added to their receipts.
Shoppers in some areas of the country are seeing a new "recycling fee" on their Walgreens receipt. NewsChannel 9, an ABC-affiliate in Syracuse, New York, recently reported that at least four Walgreens stores in Central New York are now issuing the extra charge. In April, the Franklin Journal, a newspaper based in Farmington, Maine, also reported that several Walgreens locations in various parts of the state were administering this fee.
The added recycling fee is meant to be a bottle deposit based under laws from both states, according to both news outlets. The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance (DTF) and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) both require businesses that sell bottled beverages in each state to collect a 5-cent deposit on every bottle sold.
The retailer is overcharging some customers.
The bottle deposit mandates New York and Maine are meant to prevent littering and encourage recycling, as the 5-cent deposit is refundable to customers when they return bottles to stores. But it appears that some shoppers are being overcharged, which could impact their ability to get their deposit back.
NewsChannel 9 reported that some Walgreens customers in New York are being charged another 5-cent fee in addition to the state-mandated 5-cent deposit. Back in April, the Franklin Journal revealed that consumers were being charged 15 cents—which is three times the deposit amount set by the state of Maine—for "recycling fees" at Walgreens stores.
"The deposit is set by the Legislature so you can't just increase it to 15 cents," Scott Wilson, the project manger of sustainability for Maine's DEP, explained to the Franklin Journal. "You have to be able to get your 15 cents back, so that wouldn't be a deposit."
You might be able to receive a refund if you're overcharged.
Sabrina Lawler, manager of the Walgreens stores in Norway, Maine, told the Franklin Journal in April that she doesn't know when shoppers started being overcharged for recycling fees. "It's a companywide issue that they're working on fixing," she added, noting that employees at her stores try to watch out for the error but "don't always catch it."
Walgreens has also indicated that the company as a whole is aware of the issue. Kris Lathan, who works with Walgreens' Chicago, Illinois, office, told the Franklin Journal in a statement that the retailer is "actively working to correct bottle deposit fees charged" in the state, while Walgreens told NewsChannel 9 it's looking into the issue within its Central New York stores.
"Store teams are manually adjusting the fees until this is corrected in our system. Customers who were charged an incorrect bottle deposit fee can bring their receipt into a local Walgreens for reimbursement. We thank our customers for their continued patience and apologize for the inconvenience," Lathan said.
According to NewsChannel 9, at least two customers in Central New York have been issued a refund since noticing the overcharged fee. Bernie Haines, store manager for the Walgreens in Bethel, Maine, told the Franklin Journal that shoppers can bring their receipts back if they were charged too much for a recycling fee, and the store "will take care" of them.