Price and scan-right guarantee policies

I had a reader mention that she was shopping at Albertsons and overheard the employees saying that if an item doesn’t ring up correctly, they have to give it to you free.   She wanted to know the scoop, so I emailed various stores and here’s what I found out:

Albertsons: “If the price charged is higher than the shelf or advertised price, the customer will receive the FIRST item for free.   After the first item, additional ones will be rung up at the correct price only.”

Safeway: “We guarantee the accuracy of our electronic checkout system. Safeway will give you the item free, if the price on their detailed receipt is different (higher or lower) than indicated in ads or shown on the shelf price tag. Limit of one. You will only receive one of the items for free with the remaining items at the correct price.   This does not apply to Liquor, Tobacco, or Fluid milk items. The reason for this is there is a federal tax that must be paid on these items. In these cases you will get the item at the sale price instead of free.”

King Soopers: “If for any reason our checkout scanners do not match the price given on the shelf, you receive that item free. Limit one item per UPC Bar Code.   Guarantee does not apply to key entered items ”

WalMart told me to contact my local store, and then a reader told me that they do not have a price guarantee policy.   I know that they used to, but evidently not anymore.   I’m always told “it was on the wrong spot on the shelf” anyway.

Target said they don’t have a policy like that, though from my experience they’re pretty prompt to adjust the price to the correct one for you if it is indeed wrong.

Now, you guys need to know that I’m giving you this information so that you’ll be informed consumers, not so that you’ll take advantage of it!   If an item rings up incorrectly, I’d totally make them fulfill their promise, but you know that you need to do it ethically and not lie about it to save a few bucks. :)

By the way, if you ever have a question about one of these stores (and it’s not answered in the Safeway FAQ or King Soopers FAQ, and the soon-to-come Albertsons FAQ here on SpringsBargains), you can just go to their website and email them.   They are usually pretty prompt to respond in my experience – Safeway, Albertsons, and Target almost always respond the next day; the one exception is King Soopers who can take a week or more.   I haven’t contacted Walmart much, but they responded to my one inquiry within a day or two!

Or, if it’s a question that you think other people might have, too, you can always email me and I’ll email them for you and post it so everyone can know!



  1. If you are at Wal-Mart and you have an item that scans wrong, if it’s within $5 of the actual price most stores tell their cashiers to just give you the price they say. I do that unless it’s very obvious they’re lying then i’ll have someone check it. LOL

    We used to have a price guarentee but people were taking advantage of it a lot. And not always honestly either. It used to be that if the item rang up wrong we’d take 3 dollars off your bill or give you the item free, whichever was more. *shrugs* Dunno why they stopped it but there you go, from a Walmart employee and everything.

  2. Do you know if this is true with clearance items? 9 times out of 10 Albertson’s rings up the baby formula that I get on clearance wrong.

  3. Stephanie says:

    I usually shop at King Soopers and pretty diligently check my receipt before I leave the store. They are really great about their policy! Sometimes the customer service reps aren’t aware of the policy though. so just say “I thought your policy was ….”, then they check with the manager and you get a full refund on the item.

    That is interesting about Wal-Mart… I wonder how it is possible to take advantage of it? As long as they stay on top of their system so items ring up right, there is nothing to take advantage of.

  4. Amber, not sure about clearance items. I would guess it would be the same as long as it’s clearly marked on the shelf, but they might consider clearance different.

  5. Stephanie, I would guess people were probably lying that it was the wrong price when it wasn’t. An easy way to stop that would be to send someone to verify it, huh? :)

  6. Jennifer says:

    This has happened to me numerous times at Walmart, especially on produce. I once got charged $47 for a bag of lemons!

    The biggest problem I’ve been having lately is making sure that all of my coupons scan. A few times I’ve been at the checkout and they scan them so fast that they don’t end up all coming off of my total, especially if it’s for a free item. They just keep pushing something on the keyboard until it just bypasses it. So FYI, keep an eye on the coupons. I had to go through an entire order at Safeway and another on at King Soopers within the last few weeks.

    As always, thanks for the info Carrie.

  7. The above policy for Safeway stores in outdated. I received an email from Safeway on 11/17/2011 which states their new policy for incorrect pricing.

    We guarantee the accuracy of our prices. If the price charged is higher than our
    lowest advertised price and our lowest advertised price is less than $5.00, we
    will give you the item free. If the price charged is higher than our lowest
    advertised price and the lowest advertised price for the item is $5.00 or more,
    we will sell the item at the lowest advertised price and give you a $5.00
    Safeway gift card. Limit one free item or one gift card per transaction –
    additional items will be sold at the lowest advertised price.

    This does not apply to Fuel, Dairy, Alcoholic Beverage, Tobacco, and Pharmacy

  8. Cashier Girl says:

    In regards to Safeway, you have to already have paid for the item. You can’t ask for it free at the register. Just thought I should throw that out there since I once had a peeved consumer walk out in the middle of her order because of it. *shrugs* Sorry. Only costumer service can authorize free stuff. It was 6:30 in the morning so there as no override to cancel the order either so I had to void everythimg seperately. My other costumers were unhappy as well. So just heads up before you try it.

  9. When this happens at King Soopers they are always super nice aobut it. I went in once and they charged me $1.49 an apple when it was suppossed to be by the pound. They ended up giving me a refund for the wrong price and the apples. I was shocked but they said it was their policy. I love honest companies.

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