Report: Over-charging persists at Dollar General stores

In 2019, Vermont reached a $1.75 million settlement with Dollar General over pricing inaccuracies after stores routinely charged customers more at the register than the price listed on the shelf over a five-year period.

And yet the problem continues across the country as Barron’s found four states (story behind paywall) had fined the retailer a total of more than $1 million in 2021 and 2022 for similar discrepancies.

In November, a county auditor in Ohio told the Dayton Daily News that overcharging at area Dollar General and Family Dollar stores was rampant.

That same month, the Ohio Attorney General sued both companies. In January, some stores in Ohio even temporarily closed their doors, likely in an effort to check the pricing of inventory.

Tennessee-based Dollar General told Barron’s that the company is “committed to providing accurate prices on items purchased in our stores, and we are disappointed any time we fail to deliver on this commitment.”

Dollar General has 39 Vermont stores.

Source: the Journal-Opinion newsletter for Friday, April 7.

Categories: Business

7 replies »

  1. This is by all means not a defense of Dollar General et. al., but an explanation as to what has been going on over the last year. I spoke with an Aubuchon Hardware store manager last fall and he said his job had become nightmarish. He told me that wholesale prices on items in every category had been changing sometimes twice a week and they have not had the staffing needed to change every tag on every item in the store that often. He said the store’s headquarters updates the prices in their register database before he can get all of them changed sometimes, so staff have to double-check each item and manually correct what is charged at the register. He would hire additional staff to just keep the prices on the racks current if he could find them, but finding employees has been very difficult. So, this may explain in part what Dollar General (and every other retail store in the US) has been contending with. Dollar General likely hires at the bottom of pay scale so (unlike Aubuchon) they make not the same level of competence and ability to check on pricing at the register of Aubuchon’s.

    • John, I’ve been told by someone in the service industry that DG does indeed offer very low pay and can’t find enough employees – so your benefit of the doubt might be warranted….stay tuned, and thanks to the Journal-Opinion for flagging this story.

    • But, in an age of inflation, would that not mean that the prices are more likely being adjusted upwards? By the same token, under ‘normal’ circumstances wouldn’t the incorrectness be an even split between over-priced and under-priced items?

      Clearly not the case at many places, with the inexactitude favoring the merchant not the consumer.

      Finally, places like Dollar General hire at such a low wage that employees are entitled to benefits – meaning that we, the customer, are subsidizing the billionaires that refuse to pay their staff a decent wage – looking at you Walton family! Oodles of socialism present in this fair land – much of it for the already rich!

  2. Stores were allowed not to individually mark prices on items due to electronics. If they don’t program in price changes that is their responsibility. This often happens to me at Shaw’s. I check out with fifty items, drive home and find that the price advertised is not what I payed. It’s impossible to watch at the cashier because your busy bagging and unless you buy two or three items there’s no chance to watch what rings up.

    • Same here John, Shaw’s is notorious for this and the amounts can be substantial. Of course the young cashiers have no authority to do anything and half of the time the customer service desk is closed.

  3. Not to excuse these sloppy retail practices, whether deliberate or not, but let’s give credit where credit is due to the Biden Administration/democrats for the staffing shortages and the inflation-caused frequent price changes.

    • The story says that Dollar General was fined in 2019 for conduct in the prior 5 years. My heartiest congratulations to the Biden regime for firstly having invented time travel and then secondly using it to go back in time to mess with Dollar General.