Missouri Attorney General Sues Walgreens for "Pricing Schemes" in St. Louis, Kansas City

Categories: Crime, News

walgreens-prices.jpg
Sergio Calleja photo via
Update below: After a two-month investigation involving undercover visits to Walgreens stores across Missouri, the office of Attorney General Chris Koster is alleging that the company is illegally tricking customers with a pattern of "deceptive pricing" practices.

The charge -- brought forward today in a civil lawsuit against Illinois-based Walgreen Co., the largest drugstore chain in the U.S. -- is that the stores are advertising lower prices on display tags, but charging higher prices at checkout.

"Consumers have a right to expect the price they will pay at the register is the same as the price displayed on the shelf," Koster says in a statement. "The sheer volume of tags on the shelves makes it nearly impossible to recall the details of each offer. Consumers should not have to double-check the price tags or signage and compare them to the prices charged at the register."

See also: Walmart Dumped Hazardous Waste in Missouri, Must Pay $82 Million

Koster is drumming up attention for this suit today with press conferences in St. Louis, Kansas City and Springfield.

The allegations cover those three cities along with Jefferson City and Osage Beach.

The suit alleges that Walgreens is "engaging in false, misleading, and deceptive advertising and pricing schemes to lure consumers into purchasing certain products."

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via Anthony92931


Koster's office apparently conducted "undercover visits" to eight random Walgreens stores in the five cities in question between June and July -- purhcasing a range of items. A news release explains:

Investigators discovered that nearly every store visited had pricing discrepancies in which the price of merchandise at checkout was greater than the displayed price for the product. Overall, investigators found 43 price discrepancies out of 205 purchased products, resulting in overcharges nearly 21 percent of the time.

The complaint, filed in Jackson County Circuit Court, alleges that Walgreens also offered a rewards membership program promising price reductions or savings at the register -- which investigators did not always receive.

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via Facebook / Chris Koster
Attorney General Chris Koster.

Further, the suit says sale display tags were often inaccurate and left on shelves past their expiration date.

Koster's suit seeks an injunction prohibiting the company from engaging in these alleged schemes along with civil penalties and reimbursement for the cost of the investigation and prosecution.

Customers who want to report observations of deceptive pricing at Walgreens or other retailers can contact the office's consumer hotline at 1-800-392-8222 or online at ago.mo.gov.

Daily RFT left a message with a Walgreens spokesman today. We'll update if we hear back.

Update, 5 p.m.: Walgreens spokesman James Graham just released the following statement on the suit:

We have a 112-year history of acting in our customers' best interests, and that will continue to be our focus. While we won't comment on the complaint itself, we were disappointed and disagree with the attorney general's comments. However, we are prepared to have a constructive dialogue about the issues he raised and address any appropriate concerns.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.

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49 comments
Mandy Muschler-Wissmann
Mandy Muschler-Wissmann

Oh no I'm totally glad you tagged me! I meant its as bad as Wal-Mart in the sense I spend too damn much money. I go to Walgreen for convenience, never for a great buy lol so if I can earn money then yes please. I've already gotten like seventy bucks in cash I've used since starting a few mos ago. My biggest complaint is when I get an rx and they forget to add my points.

Christina Nelms
Christina Nelms

I love reward points! Walgreens is more expensive on everything, it's a convenience thing. I just saw u post about Walgreens and didn't know if you had seen this while big deal about it

Mandy Muschler-Wissmann
Mandy Muschler-Wissmann

And actually Christina Nelms my product was not on sale anymore. I said after I checked out that was supposed to be for two for one. She looked in the book then walked back pulled the tag and said, it's not your fault this tag was expired but you'll still get that price because it was up. Because I used $20 in reward points I got that on a gift card then $7 something back on my visa. I was happy they still gave me the sale! They certainly didn't have too, I'm responsible for reading a tag.

Mandy Muschler-Wissmann
Mandy Muschler-Wissmann

You mean like every store in the world? If you're going to use sales or coupons it's your responsibility to make sure it's correct. So typical of this society...everything is someone elses fault. No. I've had mistakes at other stores too.

Mandy Muschler-Wissmann
Mandy Muschler-Wissmann

I haven't read it Christina Nelms yet. But I watch my receipts like a hawk and there's actually more money on the gift card than I thought. I've never had an issue. Menards is all mail in rebates. I thought this is like what CVS did so Walgreen followed. I'll read the article

Sarah G Mitchell
Sarah G Mitchell

I have seen this in Walgreen's many times and called them out on it, and if they didn't correct it, I didn't buy it, I have seen this in many other stores here in Missouri and Illinois, they have been doing this years. You have to watch your receipts and catch the issue as the girls or guys are ringing up your purchases, at all stores.

Nathan Nico Vize
Nathan Nico Vize

Good job Koster. Go kick ass. That's why I voted for you.

Kathleen Wilson Griswold
Kathleen Wilson Griswold

I'd say check your receipt anywhere you shop. How do you know sale items have been entered into the computer? With scanners, cashiers ring stuff up so fast you can't see it on the readout if it's even visible in the first place.

imastar7
imastar7

This is nothing, COMPARE THEIR DRUG PRICES with or without insurance...

Jimmie Thomptson
Jimmie Thomptson

check your receipts at Target & Aldi's to...1 out of 2 visits there is over Or double charges...

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

i think they intentionally make the prices confusing to force people into getting that "rewards" card. those cards are data mining tools to track your purchases.

Tyler Garrett
Tyler Garrett

This pisses me off, because I use to love walgreens. :(

Ben Mansfield
Ben Mansfield

I always watch the prices there... Between the coupons Rewards cards Sales Its hard to know what will ring up

Michael Mytzlplyk
Michael Mytzlplyk

Good. This is beyond the pale. My Rx's are no longer fulfilled there.

Allison Pitman
Allison Pitman

I can't count the number of times I've had to point out inaccurate pricing, especially on B1G1 or % off items, at the check out, not to mention the times I returned for price adjustment refunds after inspecting my receipt. Their employees act offended if I ask them to turn the sign at the register so I can actually see the price as they scan items; granted many sales are at the end of the checkout process. However, with the sales and discounts being at the end of the process, it's hard to be 100% sure you actually received all of your discounts.

Tina Palazzolo Chianta
Tina Palazzolo Chianta

At least twice they've tried to charge more than the ticketed sale price on items even with rewards card. Some of the employees are nice when you alert them of the difference, though one employee actually told me that the product was not the one on sale when in fact the UPC codes matched.

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

a pack of razors is $9.00, but $6.00 each if you buy 4 packs when using your card with a coupon, but not when they are on sale, then they are $8.00 per pack, but $5.80 each when you buy 7 packs when using your card, but only with a coupon.

Becky Lane-Wegman
Becky Lane-Wegman

It is kind of suspicious that they have to constantly renew their contract with Express Scripts.

Dennis French
Dennis French

They do it everywhere you have go watch every item they ring up

Matthew Ingmire
Matthew Ingmire

Good! Bout time their rewards program was called out for being a joke.

ut_4_me
ut_4_me topcommenter

I love the large print that reads 2 for $10 and the in 2 point font below it reads "Or $7.99 a piece".

Donna Torchwood
Donna Torchwood

They've been doing this for years. Also they charge incorrect taxes too.

Elmo Farquar
Elmo Farquar

I have noticed that at Walgreens before. When I pointed it out, they sold me the item for the price that was on the shelf then changed the tag to reflect the current price.

Amy Ruprecht
Amy Ruprecht

I thought it was only their pharmacies that were being sued.

Karolyn Page
Karolyn Page

Who cares.....just get a free rewards card and move on. This is not a big deal. If you dont like it do go there. Its not like it is impossible to get a card and only a select few get them. They are free, go get one.

Jimmie Thomptson
Jimmie Thomptson

I have the very same problem at Target & Aldi's, almost every other visit has over charges, really is frustrating...

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

i ditched them as soon as they started with that "$8.99, but $2.99 with card when you buy 8 of them with coupon" crap. can i just buy my christmas gifts here without being hassled?

Lauren Jacobs Marshall
Lauren Jacobs Marshall

I stopped going there as soon as they implemented their 'reward' program. before that, I went there all the time.

JP Doyle
JP Doyle

CVS started this practice first. Walgreen's followed suit in order to data mine customers. I hope this lawsuit gains traction and they would quit this bs.

Sharon Walker
Sharon Walker

I like Wal-Greens. I find great deals there. I hold them to the prices and have never had a problem with them. I bet Wal-Mart is pissed. Wal-Mart has a a lot of power politically speaking.

Nile Flores
Nile Flores

no surprise. Should see how they treat their distribution center employees in Mount Vernon.... the list of things from HIPAA violations, OSHA issues that haven't been reported, harassment from management and HR, and more are appalling.

Nichole Olea
Nichole Olea

I KNEW IT!! I've been complaining about how much I hate Walgreens for months! I always check the price and call them out on over charging me...but my poor kiddo has been taken advantage of several times...up yours Walgreens...I'll be calling the hotline to complain :)

Cindy Charley Noble
Cindy Charley Noble

CVS has a similar program - have to have the CVS card to get the discounts...

Mark Farace
Mark Farace

When I really, really, REALLY have to go there, I tell the cashier that they're just a necessary evil and the other store didn't have what I needed.

Chris McDaniel
Chris McDaniel

Easy... Shop somewhere else! The whole "rewards" thing is a scam everywhere, just another way to collect your private data.

Sherry Moore
Sherry Moore

I quit Walgreens ages ago. Definitely a bait and switch deal.

Jeri Michelle Reuter
Jeri Michelle Reuter

I've read though that even with the card, even with a person knowing the specific card prices, they were still charged too much.

Elizabeth Ann Perriwinkle
Elizabeth Ann Perriwinkle

I've totally fallen for this myself when I was sick and couldn't use my brain because of a fever! I only figured it out later when I looked at my receipt. So glad they're getting sued for this.

Bob McCollum
Bob McCollum

Yes! They advertise everything in the store assuming that you're a member of their stupid rewards club.

Courtney Ringle
Courtney Ringle

considering a lot of the DM's and higher ups in just the STL area alone are creepy crooks.. i wouldnt doubt it.. even in pharmacy, they would do anything to get to that bottom line.

AJ Roach
AJ Roach

I noticed this the other day...if you look closely it says "with card" in small print, meaning a Walgreens Rewards Card.

Robert
Robert

Is that first picture the hoarding fuck who buys up all the Mitchum Smart Solid Greenwood deodorant when it's on "sale"? I hate that guy. 

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