Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Check your till receipt!

This afternoon I found I'd been short-changed by Tesco on a special offer. It's the second time in a month that's happened - that I've been aware of although there may well have been other occasions.

I bought a couple of packs of herbs on a 2 for £1 offer instead of their normal price of 82p and 79p but the full amount was rung up at the till. I thought the total was more than I expected and checked the receipt. When I took it back I found that I'd been overcharged 61p.

A similar thing happened the other day at Somerfield on a 2 for 1 deal on kitchen towel.

I'm reluctant to conclude it's deliberate - I can't think supermarkets would be so stupid as to consciously swindle their customers. Putting a positive construction on what happened there are so many special offers these days it must be hard to make sure they all get accurately logged onto the system. But had these purchases been part of a larger shop rather than a small one I suspect I wouldn't have noticed. It would be easy enough to slip by.

So I suggest, if you don't already do so, you keep track as far as possible of what you're spending and scrutinise your receipt carefully before you pay or leave the shop.

Do you have a similar experience of being overcharged?


notSupermum said...

I always check my receipts before I leave the shop, I also try to keep an eye on what is being rung through on the till. Mistakes happen regularly and usually because the wrong price is still in the barcode.

Tesco used to have a policy that if they overcharged you they would refund you the whole amount and you would get the item for free, but they stopped doing that a few years ago - I did benefit from it on many occasions though!

James said...

Thanks for bringing that to our attention. So busy these days I almost fly through the checkout. Hadn't thought of this.

One of the good things at the co-op though is their 2 for £- offers still apply when items are reduced for quick sale, so it's even more of a bargain. Not sure if it's the same at the others.

Anonymous said...

I used to work in price integrity for a very major retailer. The problem may well be due to massive offer changes, staff may struggle to check offers are still valid. Additionally competitive pressures to keep the prices low means staffing levels are often not enough. Not really the customers problem but supermarket do sometimes raise expectations to unsustainable levels. But do keep checking as I once got a £2 discount off next bill for a 10p mistake!

fran39 said...

This is a good reminder, Fiona! What really hacks me off is getting to the till and finding that the item is not on the computer - so I can't buy it! This has happened three or four times in Tesco. Seems complete madness that there's no over-ride when this occurs.

Fiona Beckett said...

I try to notSupermum but it depends how long the bill is and how much of a rush I'm in. When you only buy a few items you should have some idea what they should come to and that sounds a warning bell but I'm now being more careful, especially on special offers.

We keep waiting for our Somerfield to change to a Co-op James but it hasn't happened yet.

Glad to hear supermarkets have a department called 'price integrity' anonymous - even though they sometimes fall short ;-) I'm sure it's the sheer volume of offers that are being made these days and the frequency with which they're changed

And Fran - yes very annoying though that hasn't happened to me yet. Shall complain vigorously if it does!

Anonymous said...

You would be surprised at how often this actually happens! I always check my receipts before leaving a shop, and I quite often find I've been over charged. It's usually no problem to get the money back and the staff are very apologetic in most cases. You can tell sometimes that they think you're wasting their time if it's a small amount but every penny counts, especially just now!

emily said...

I try to keep an eye on the till as we're going through. Just as well I did the other day. Instead of being charged 52p for a reduced avocado, I ended up having 52 avocados added to my bill!

verity said...

I try to keep an eye as they're ringing things up but it's difficult when you're struggling to do the packing!

Our Somerfield became a Tesco :( but we already had a Co-op.

Lizzie said...

My ex boyfriend used to (and still does) take the piss out of me for keeping all my receipts and studying them right after I've paid. I find them fascinating... and I'll always spot when I'm short-changed!

The Ample Cook said...

Happened to me in Asda. Checked the website for a particular beer and they were doing 3 for £4. Fortunately checked labels in the aisle - no offer. Supervisor checked at the till - still no reduction. Emailed Asda - give them their due, they emailed me after checking and explained it was a cock up and sent me a £3 voucher.

John said...

To buy the herbs at the supermarket is hardly frugal, even if you pay the discounted price. Most herbs are easy enough to grow in your garden or in small pots on your kitchen window sill. Select your favourites and buy the seeds at £1.69 per pack from Seeds of Italy ( and go for it. Unlike with most suppliers, Seeds of Italy will send you enough seeds to keep you going year round for at least three years.

Greenlady said...

All the time at the Co op. I always ask for my receipt ( as I like to keep a check on my spending anyway and keep a spending diary )and many a time I have had to turn round and go and get them to correct an overcharge. I don't know of any shops that give you the item free and a refund if overcharged these days, although it used to be common practise. Maybe the volume of errors was just too much to handle !

To be fair I think it is mostly due to genuine barcode input errors but you do wonder sometimes at how much profit must be made from overcharging customers who do not bother to check - or only find out long after they've got home from an out of town big shop. It is annoying though, even if from a local store !

Fiona Beckett said...

Very good point, John and I don't normally buy herbs in supermarkets but the ones I planted a couple of months ago are in the doldrums after all this rain, especially the parsley. Otherwise I generally buy big bunches from Asian or middle-eastern grocers. I've seen the Seeds of Italy catalogue - they do have lovely things but unfortunately we don't have a garden.

Cautionary tales from the rest of you about supermarket errors. That 52 avocados was a classic. Emily.

And I don't think your ex should send you up, Lizzie. Obviously you were incompatible ;-)

Funny too how the errors always seem to be in the supermarket's favour and not yours. Now there's an nteresting question. Do you tell the supermarket if they've charged you too little? I confess I generally don't on the basis that they can a) afford it b) have probably overcharged me on many an occasion and I haven't noticed it but I do if I'm shopping at a small independent shop.

Kang/LondonEater said...

This happens to me sometimes, but I do agree that supermarkets are not doing it on purpose - sometimes, I think its down to the till not recording the discount.

Very rarely does it happen, but I can indeed think of a few instances where it occurred.

Then again, I was just at a restaurant in Paris and they decided to slap on an extra 35 euros and charge me for two steaks instead of one. I jumped abit, but they did change it without fuss.

Fiona Beckett said...

Good point Kang - check your restaurant bills too. I've certainly had other people's dishes added, usually by mistake I suspect. Easier to check too than a supermarket bill