RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — There’s been a huge increase in the number of stores charging the wrong prices at the register according to those who are in charge of checking to make sure you pay the right price.
When you buy an item, you want to make sure you’re paying the price listed on the shelf.
“With prices going up on so many items across the board you certainly don’t want to pay more than you should or have to,” said shopper Chris Baker.
Baker experienced several price overcharges at the Walmart Superstore in Chapel Hill recently.
He purchased fuel injector cleaner that was listed at $25.97 on the shelf, but he was charged $29.96 at the register. Another example was a box of a dozen donuts priced on the shelf for $7.14. But it rang up $9.48 at the register.
Turns out this store has been repeatedly flagged by the state agency that checks for prices lining up with those on the shelf.
Back on Nov. 15, 2021, it failed inspection with a 13% error rate. It was reinspected on Dec. 20, 2021, and failed again with 24% overcharge rate.
At that point, Walmart was fined $5,000.
Another inspection took place in February 2021. During that check, the store passed.
In April 2022, the weights and measures division of the North Carolina Agriculture Department received another consumer complaint about that superstore.
The division went back to check prices — and the store failed again. A follow-up inspection in June resulted in yet another failure.
Now, weights and measures officials say the store is scheduled for another reinspection at the end of August.
CBS 17 Consumer Investigator Steve Sbraccia contacted Walmart corporate officials to find out what it is doing to rectify these issues.
In an email, Walmart spokeswoman Ashley Nolan said, “We are testing an enhanced electronic shelf labeling initiative and improved handheld app capabilities to help associates with price confirmation and adjustment when needed.”
But weights and measures says the problem is bigger than just one Walmart store.
“Inflation is causing the prices to go up and staffing problems mean they can’t get around to change the shelf prices as quickly as they need to,” said Chad Parker, the measurement section manager of the North Carolina Agriculture and Consumer Services Department’s Weights and Measures Division.
As evidence of that, Parker said fines for incorrect prices have jumped from an average of $50,000 annually to more than $500,000 in the last year.
The problem is so bad, Parker said his people can’t keep up with it.
“Our workload with failed scans has increased by 1,000% in the past year,” said Parker. “We don’t have the manpower to keep up with a 1,000% increase in that area.”
Experts recommend keeping track of prices on a receipt. If a customer finds an error bring it to the store’s customer service personnel for a refund and notify the state weights and measures division.