Walgreens Accused of Overcharging Shoppers Again

The retailer is in trouble for improperly applying recycling fees.

Drugstores are a convenient shopping choice, as you can easily pick up your prescriptions while you also grab some body wash or toilet paper. But they don't always offer the cheapest prices on many of the products you can find elsewhere. So, the last thing you want is to find out that you're paying even more on top of the already-higher price tag. Unfortunately, some shoppers say that's exactly what is happening at certain Walgreens stores. Read on to find out why this popular drugstore chain is being accused of overcharging customers—again.

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Retailers in specific states can add a recycling fee on beverage containers.

Female hand taking bottle of mineral water from supermarket shelf
iStock

If you are ever charged an extra fee for certain bottled or canned products, you're likely in a bottle bill state.

As the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) explains, there are currently deposit-refund systems set up for beverage containers in 10 states: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Oregon, and Vermont.

These beverage container deposit laws aim to reduce litter by encouraging people to recycle through monetary means.

"The consumer pays the deposit to the retailer when buying the beverage, and receives a refund when the empty container is returned to a supermarket or other redemption center," the NCSL states. "Deposit amounts vary from two cents to 15 cents, depending on the type of beverage and volume of the container."

But Walgreens is being accused of overcharging shoppers through these deposits.

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This doesn't mean you should overlook every beverage deposit charge when you're in one of these states, however. Walgreens is being accused of overcharging shoppers in Hawaii through recycling fees on wine bottles, local ABC affiliate KITV4 reported on June 19.

At the beginning of the month, the news outlet's reporters discovered that the drugstore chain was improperly adding a 5-cent recycling deposit on some bottles of wine. Many of the bottles also had a warning about the additional fee by its price tag on store shelves.

Customers in Hawaii are typically charged this 5-cent deposit on plastic bottles and certain glass containers, and they can get this nickel back when they take the bottle back to their recycling center, according to KITV4.

The only problem? Wine bottles are not considered recyclable by the state's deposit beverage container law, according to Hawaii's Department of Health. So Walgreens shoppers are being charged a deposit they can't get back.

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This is not the first time the retailer has been caught doing this.

 inside of the Walgreens store. The Walgreen Company is an American pharmaceutical company which operates the second-largest
Shutterstock

Walgreens has already faced heat for this same exact issue. Back in June 2022, KITV4 previously warned consumers that the drugstore chain was improperly charging deposit fees for wine bottles.

The Hawaii Department of Health's (DOH) Office of Solid Waste Management, which is in charge of the state's recycling program, told KITV4 that it had seemingly settled the problem with Walgreens last year.

"After being alerted last June, DOH issued a letter to Walgreens," the Office of Solid Waste Management explained in a statement to the news outlet. "By August, the problem had been fixed, so the investigation was closed."

But as KITV just discovered recently that it was happening again in Hawaii, the state's DOH said it would send an investigator out to look into it.

And this is not the only state that has dealt with Walgreens overcharging customers through bottle deposits. In April 2022, local news reports indicated that shoppers in both Maine and New York were being charged up to three times the amount they were supposed to be for "recycling fees" at Walgreens stores.

You should be able to receive a refund if you've been affected.

looking at grocery receipt
Shutterstock

When following up at Walgreens in mid-June to see if customers were still being hit with improper recycling fees, KITV4 said the retail chain had stopped charging the deposit on wine bottles.

The Honolulu store manager also told the news outlet that they could come back to the store for a refund but didn't give any kind of explanation as to why shoppers had been overcharged for this problem once again.

Best Life has also reached out to Walgreens about this situation, and we will update this story with their response.

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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