Dealing With Mistakes at the Cash Register

Category Shopping
Mistakes happen and the easiest time to correct them when shopping is while you are still in the store, either at the register or service desk. This is a page about dealing with mistakes at the cash register.


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For Wal-Mart shoppers, here is a tip if you were not aware of it. When you go shopping make sure you look at the price tag, compare the name, ounces, anything else that is pertinent to the item. Make sure when you check out that the price rings up the same, if it doesn't here is the big tip.

If your item rings up higher than the shelf price: If your item is $3 or less you get the item for free, if the item is over $3 you get $3 off your total bill!

Now, some of the cashiers will argue with you over this that they do not do this. I worked at Wal Mart 20 years ago, this is where I learned it, I shop at Wal Mart now and I keep an eye on every price and I have gotten a lot of stuff free!


To argue back, next time you are in the store, look for a sign on your side of the register, it is yellow and red and states what I just told you, then they cannot argue with you and have to honor it. Good Luck!

Frugal in Indiana

By Samantha

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November 20, 2008

When checking out items at the cashier's desk, always look at the screen to ensure that you pay the right price for the right number of things. There have been times that items are on sale, and they aren't reflected during check-out. Bring this to the attention of the cashier, at this time is much easier than coming back at a later time. Also, when you've bought multiples of the same item, some cashiers unintentionally miscount, and you end paying more for what you've actually bought. Even after all this, still look at your receipt just to make sure.

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Lately I have been snapping quick photos of all the items I place in my grocery cart that I will be purchasing because accidental price errors can occur at check out. (And has actually been happening more often lately for me!)

Snapping quick photos has been a time saver for me because I don't want to run back and check the price (knowing it's wrong) or wait for someone to locate the item, check the price and run back to confirm especially if you're on a time crunch!


Plus as you exit the store, you can confirm your receipt and reference pricing from your photos you snapped. Then, when all is set you can delete the photos... after all photos are digital!

Example: Today's trip to Sprouts

The cashier charged apricots as Large Black Plums at $2.49 lb = $1.79. I immediately saw the incorrect charge and referenced her to my photo that they're Black Velvet Apricots on sale at $0.98 lb = $0.71.

That's a $1.08 overcharge if I did not catch it!

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February 20, 2007

Watch the display screen at the register as your groceries are being rung up. If you are overcharged, speak up.


Before you leave the store double check the receipt and make sure that the prices were correct.

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I took a picture of the Vons/Safeway policy while at self check out. They have a Price Accuracy Guarantee, where if you are overcharged and the item is less than $5, it will be free. And, if it was more than $5, you will get a gift card and price adjustment.

A Price Accuracy Guarantee sign at a grocery store.

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July 14, 2004

When checking out at the grocery store, make sure to pay attention to the scan price of each item. I have caught plenty of overpriced items simply because the store did not change them to the proper price in the computer system.

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First check your store's policy, some stores like Pick & Save give you double your money back. They might ask you if you left the store, so walk out the door and come back in.

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April 23, 2004

Always watch the cash register as your purchases are rung up for scanner errors. Then, if an error occurs, know what the stores policy is, many stores will give you the item free or a credit of several dollars off your total.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

November 24, 2012

If an item is scanned at the register and it rings up for less than what the actual price is supposed to be, what, if any, are your rights for getting the item for what it rang up for instead of the actual price?


By tb

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October 9, 2006

From groceries to barbecue grills, most everyday items bear a Universal Product Code (UPC). This symbol - a series of numbers and vertical bars of varying thicknesses - is shorthand for product information. When a cashier passes the UPC symbol over an electronic scanner, a computer decodes the symbol and sends the price to the register. The price appears on a display screen and on your printed receipt.

Retailers say scanner technology has several advantages: speeding checkout time, lowering labor costs, and improving sales and inventory records. They also say that scanning results in fewer pricing errors than manual entry.

Scanning errors can result in overcharges and undercharges. Overcharges can cost the individual shopper money, especially if the shopper doesn't speak up when they occur. They also can be frustrating for time-conscious consumers, who may have to stand in line for a refund, or worse, return to the store.


Savvy consumers - those who are aware of prices, who check scanner charges for expensive items or items they know are on sale and who are willing to shop elsewhere if price corrections arent made - will encourage retail stores to police the accuracy of their checkout scanners.

Pricing Accuracy Concerns

Electronic scanning is not foolproof. The reasons: human error, pricing difficulties, and management problems. As a result, consumer advocates and regulators are concerned about inconsistencies between advertised or posted prices and prices stored in the computer; inaccurate prices throughout a chain of stores because of an error in the central computer; and problems for shoppers who may not remember posted prices or special promotions when they check out.

Spotting Scanner Errors

Although the UPC symbol has replaced the traditional readable price tag, it's still possible for consumers to spot pricing errors at the register. Here's how:

Effective Complaining

If you notice a pattern of electronic scanning errors in a particular store, talk to the customer service department or the store manager. You also may want to write a letter to the company's headquarters. The retailer may not realize a problem exists until it's pointed out.

You also may report recurring problems to your state Attorney General's office, state or local consumer protection office, or your state or local office of weights and measures.

Source: FTC

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