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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 guide about dealing with mistakes at the cash register.


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By 2 found this helpful
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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February 20, 20070 found this helpful

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. If you catch the mistake before you leave the store you can quickly get a remedy at the service desk. The majority of all mistakes are not in your favor.

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July 14, 20040 found this helpful

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.


Shopping Studies have shown that scanner pricing can be wrong and usually to the benefit of the store. Most often the mistakes are made with new sale items or marked down items. Paying attention will ensure that you don't let them make money this way.

By Samantha

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By 2 found this helpful
July 23, 2013

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, 20040 found this helpful

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.


I routinely get credits and/or free merchandise at Albertson's, RiteAid, WalMart and KMart. You have to ask for the compensation, even insist on it and ask for a manager if necessary to get it.

By Linda L

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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, 20120 found this helpful

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, 20060 found this helpful

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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