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‘Check the register price matches the shelf’ Family Dollar shoppers told after store fined $147k for overcharging buyers

CONSUMERS are being warned to keep an eye out for pricing errors when shopping at stores like Walgreens and Family Dollar as several have been fined thousands for overcharging customers in one state. 

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) confirmed last week that nine stores across seven counties were forced to pay fines over price scanning errors for just this year so far. 

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A Family Dollar in Charlotte, North Carolina was fined $12,610 for overcharges[/caption]

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A location in Indian Trail has also paid $23, 575 in penalties after eight failed inspections over pricing errors[/caption]

In order to protect shoppers from overcharges, the state agency said it conducts “periodic, unannounced inspections” of a store’s price-scanner systems. 

This is to see how accurate the prices advertised on the shelves are when the products are scanned at a manned-register or self-checkout machine. 

If the agency discovers that the store has an error rate of more than 2% in overcharging customers, an investigation is conducted. 

If a business fails a follow-up inspection, they are then issued with fines. 

The store will also be subject to re-inspection every 60 days until its error rate on overcharges hits 2% or below. 

If there are additional reinspection failures, more fines may be issued. 

Any undercharges are reported but do not prompt any fines. 

For the second quarter of 2024, NCDA&CS’s Standards Division issued fines for Family Dollar, Dollar General, Walgreens and Target stores in the counties of Alamance, Forsyth, Hertford, Mecklenburg, Moore, Wake, and Union. 

The Family Dollar locations saw the most fines with a total of $147,765 across six stores. 

The location in Alamance county, at 2206 West Webb Ave., Burlington, saw four failed inspections and needed to pay $8,370. 

The fines came after the stores first failed an inspection in November, 2023 with an error rate of 6%. 

That error rate jumped to 7.67% in January and 8.33% in March before dropping to 3.67% in May. 

The store is set to be inspected a fifth time. 

Similarly, the Family Dollar at 1425 Waughtown St., in Winston-Salem has paid $37,345 over nine failed inspections that began in November 2022. 

At the time, the store was found to have an error rate of 22%. 

As of May, that had dropped to 4.33%. 

The largest fine was issued to the Family Dollar at 550 MLK Blvd., in Winston-Salem, which recently paid $52,215 in fees. 

What should I do if I find an overcharge?

It can be frustrating to scan your items and discover that you have been overcharged.

There are two main actions shoppers can take: 

  1. Notify store employees for immediate assistance 
  2. File a complaint with your state’s Standards Division. 

Customers in North Carolina can do this by calling 984-236-4750.

The store initially failed an inspection in February 2022 over an error rate of 16%. 

Throughout 2022, 2023, and up until May of this year, additional inspections have found error rates ranging between 25.67% and 5% for overcharges. 

The store is set to be reinspected again. 

Here is the complete list of stores fined, their locations, and the amount they have paid so far: 

  • Family Dollar at 2206 West Webb Ave, Burlington – $8,370
  • Family Dollar at 1425 Waughtown St., Winston Saliem – $37,345
  • Family Dollar at 550 MLK Blvd., Winston-Salem – $52,215 
  • Walgreens at 2912 Main St., Walkertown – $2,295
  • Family Dollar at 1678 Ocean Hwy., Hertford – $13,650 
  • Family Dollar at 4005 Sunset Road, Charlotte – $12,610
  • Dollar General at 4500 Lebelia Road – $915
  • Target at 3001 Market Center Drive, Morrisville – $1,350
  • Family Dollar at 7907 Idlewild Road, Indian Trail – $23,575

The Family Dollar in Charlotte and the one in Indian Trail are also set to pay an additional $5,000 to the state, officials told The Charlotte Observer

In order to avoid falling victim to overcharges and price scan errors, Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler has issued a warning to shoppers

Rather than just grabbing items and scanning them blindly, he has called on all customers to pay attention to shelf versus register prices. 

“July and August are busy travel months in our state and as you pick up your sunscreen and other vacation necessities be sure to check to see that the price at the register matches the price on the shelf,” Troxler said in a statement

“Overcharges cost consumers, so we remain vigilant in inspecting stores to save people money.” 

Family Dollar did not immediately respond to The U.S. Sun’s request for comment.

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