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Shopper Sues Target for Overcharging

An Ohio consumer was traveling in Illinois, and on August 2 he bought some groceries at a local Target store only to discover after he checked out that he was overcharged for two boxes of Ritz crackers. Instead of them being rung up at the $3.49 shelf price he was charged $3.79.


Target Overcharge

This must have been his lucky day because he found an Illinois lawyer who exactly one week later filed a class action lawsuit against Target.

The suit alleges overcharging by the company, misrepresentation, and unfair or deceptive business practices not just in Illinois but at its stores nationwide. To support this claim, the lawyer had done his own little survey in a handful of other states and found that checkout prices were higher than the shelf prices for a number of items, mostly groceries.

This case follows our reporting (see story) in March of an extensive investigation of Target by seven district attorneys in California for not only overcharging some customers at the checkout, but also advertising a lower price online than the consumer could obtain in the store. In that case, Target was fined $5-mil.

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13 thoughts on “Shopper Sues Target for Overcharging”

  1. Back in the good ol’ days, when a store rang up an item higher than the shelf price, you got the item for free if you simply went to the service desk. Stores should bring that back and then folks wouldn’t be so quick to run to a lawyer. And pricing would get fixed in the system as soon as the first free item had to be given away. If you don’t tell the folks at the service desk, how are they going to know that shelf price and the rung-up price are different? As for online v in-store pricing, I have found that Target honors the online price I had at home if I show them a screenshot. It does stink that the price on the website can change from your living room to their parking lot though. THAT should be illegal.

    • Hi Deb… You’ll be happy to know, that at least in Massachusetts, the “price accuracy guarantee” is still in effect. You get the item free if it scans higher than the lowest represented price for grocery items up to $10. I wrote that law in 1987. Michigan just changed their law, but they had a price guarantee too.

  2. I’ve had this issue a lot at Target and Kroger. They refuse to provide the item free, and it’s not worth my time to stand in line to fight over 20 cents here and 50 cents there. I hope the lawyers win and force these companies to be more transparent.

  3. I’m seeing this issue crop up more often. I’m hoping it’s just negligence in the tags not getting changed, but the prices in the system changing, but who knows anymore. The worst part, as Deb pointed out, is that nowadays if you go to the service desk with a dispute on the price all you get is the price corrected and you’ve probably lost 10 minutes trying to save $.40 since there’s always only one person there and that person has three people in line and has to go help two registers.

    I don’t see this behavior changing though as more and more grocery stores are pushing customers to delivery, which the stores love because they can charge more for the products than they do in store and people are likely to spend more and more often when they don’t have to go to the store to get their stuff.

    Not sure of the best way to fix this, but it’s definitely an issue and why I always review my receipts while at the grocery store.

  4. There must be a better way to solve this problem! The courts are over full of these class action lawsuits. Greedy people all the way around. In the long run, we ALL pay for these lawsuits and payouts.
    Pay a specialist to correct these overcharges in the computer program.
    If you are overcharged, FIX the issue. If you are undercharged, RETURN the money.

  5. I’ll never understand how or why Target managed to bury Kmart, Caldor and Bradlees. The stores carry nothing, other than diapers, the customer service is nil, the registers are understaffed and the prices are high

  6. Target in Wesley Chapel, NC is guilty of this same practice. It happens more often than not. I’ve gotten to where I will take a photo of the item along with the listed price on the shelf.

  7. I have complained many times to Target how their pricing was charging people unfairly. If your hometown Target is in an area with less expensive prices than the one you visit, your store prices will. not match online prices. You can ask them to match the price if you know to do that. They also charge for bag tax fees, and don’t remove the charge even if you decline the bags unless you tell the person to remove the charge. It’s pennies to each bag ,but knowing they do this to thousands of consumers, it’s frustrating as it adds up. (Think 7 cents per bag- for maybe at minimum of 500 bags a day per store, then between multiple bags and drive up orders per store, that could be over $12k per store per year they are basically keeping from consumers)

  8. I was just in an MA Target & noticed 2 irregularities. In one, the more expensive, brand-items had prices marked on the shelves under them. The generic items were unmarked. In the second, the same items were priced differently in different locations. (I took pix for posterity.)

  9. What happens when a store has just the opposite- a HIGHER price online and a LOWER price in the store? That’s deceptive advertising as far as I’m concerned! Are we supposed to go online before we go to the brick-and-mortar store and see what the prices are and then decide if we’re going to buy it in the store or come home and buy it online? I think I just saw this last week when I happened to be looking at Costco online and some thing that I bought IN the store was higher online and lower in the store. I would never even think that that would be a possibility to have two different prices for the exact same item!

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