Safeway's 2 Bad Habits: Overcharging, and Not Obeying the Courts

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Safeway store



Safeway (SWY) -- North America's second-largest supermarket chain, after Kroger (KR) -- has already gotten into hot water for ripping off customers: The state of California, which has the highest concentration of Safeway stores in the country, has sued the company repeatedly since 2003 for overcharging shoppers. A recent court order demands that Safeway and its Vons stores give a customer an item for free if it's under $5 and scans at the register for more than the lowest advertised price. For overpriced items costing more than $5, the store must hand over a $5 gift card -- one per customer. Other improperly marked-up items are to be sold at their advertised prices.

Some goods are exempted -- dairy, alcohol, tobacco, fuel and pharmacy products -- but CBS San Francisco reports that Safeway is not honoring its obligations when it comes to those groceries that fall under the judgment's purview.

"After compiling numerous similar complaints," the news outlet reports, "CBS 5 ConsumerWatch went undercover shopping at five Safeway stores in three counties. Not only were we overcharged five times, but not a single store offered to give them the item for free and two stores flat out refused."

Compounding the problem, Safeway apparently failed to post clear signs in checkout lanes explaining the policy: "When ConsumerWatch asked clerks about the signs, many had no idea where they were. One store had no signs posted at all while others were in hard to read locations."

The company's response has been far from satisfactory. Aside from apologizing for the overcharges in a statement -- and claiming that the error has been corrected -- Safeway has done essentially nothing, offering only its general 877-SAFEWAY help line as a resource for aggrieved shoppers.

Customers who experience overcharging at Safeway or Vons should contact their local department of Weights and Measures, ConsumerWatch said.

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throwin90

Customers better be careful going thru Safeway. Customers are routinely overcharged. Not just by prices being marked wrong by the store. The cashiers would forget a coupons and double scan items while talking to the customers. This is why the cashiers start this conversation. They distract the customer by asking how the customer likes the weather. They won't double scan big ticket items unless they think you are tourist or have been drinking. Smaller ticket items that you purchased in volume. I would bet that 1,000 dollars is overcharged by each Safeway Store each and everyday.

March 10 2014 at 1:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jjayj.1

I already have their card, why do I need to clip a coupon from their ad too just to get the discount?

November 09 2012 at 12:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jay917

After compiling numerous similar complaints," the news outlet reports, "CBS 5 ConsumerWatch went undercover shopping at five Safeway stores in three counties. Not only were we overcharged five times, but not a single store offered to give them the item for free and two stores flat out refused."
All that was needed was to have the person next in line sign an acknowledgement that there was a refusal and Safeway would have no defense...I have done it when Rent a canter refused to accept my late payment after having done so for nearly 6 months with me paying the late fee every time with no problem many years ago when I was young..In this country if you attempt to pay a bill and your money, no matter how small is refused and you can prove it, your no longer responsible for it. If you owe someone and attempt to pay any amount and it is refused obviously they don't want the money..

November 08 2012 at 9:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
barbecue1

I love shopping at Safeway. It must be a very daunting task to constantly update computers systems ever time an items price changes. Every store has a few that slip through the cracks. If the worst that the news reporter could find was 5 items total at several stores priced incorrectly, then Safeway is doing an amazing job. Imagine the tens of thousands of items that constantly have their price go up or down depending on market conditions. I bet no one complains when something rings up at a lower price then it should.

November 07 2012 at 1:44 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to barbecue1's comment
lvh44leo

You are right Safeway is FIRST CLASS been shopping at Safeways 40 years. BOYCOTT WAL-MART! Wal-Mart wants to control everthing and would Love to see Safeway and Kroger fail among others.

November 08 2012 at 10:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lvh44leo

Safeway is First Class!

November 08 2012 at 10:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ed

easy to fix STOP shopping there ! let it go BANKRUPT !

November 07 2012 at 1:26 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
kqcottonwood

This a constant problem. Has not improved. What a hassel to have to go to customer serv. & wait for a refund. They have too many constant sale prices. I do not know how they keep up. Alwasys check your receit before you leave store . I t adds up.

November 07 2012 at 12:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Doc Rooney

What they sell is not good like it use to be every company that was in the Americas have changed the food they sell is not as good as it use to be one of the worse is Kraft foods they buy all the companyies and change the contens plus heavey paper that is not edible.They should keep Kraft out of the food stores.All they are intresed in is making money to buy more good food companies and reduce the good ingredients so they can make bigger profits

November 07 2012 at 9:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Doc Rooney

What they sell is not good like it use to be every company that was in the Americas have changed the food they sell is not as good as it use to be one of the worse is Kraft foods they buy all the companyies and change the contens plus heavey paper that is not edible.

November 07 2012 at 9:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
frankig

I only get items that have a really good Just 4U price
Use self checkout
buy one or 2 things at a time so I can do the math in my head
(have you ever tried to read the actual price of an item on display screen?)
Item X 9.99 - Just4U price -2.70 - card savings 1.27 -eCoupon .75=whattheheck was I just charged???
If it doesn't come up as I expect, I abandon it. No printing out lists & wasting my ink or waiting in s mile long customer service line. Where they always want to tell me why I was wrong, even if I just want to return it for the price the receipt says I paid!
Has to be a reaaaaallllly good price to go thru all this

Tonight I abandoned one transaction but was able to move to another self checkout.
final score, paid for 3 transactions, abandoned 2

November 05 2012 at 1:39 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
lvh44leo

There are no perfect stores! Safeway is still the best and Wal-Mart is a MESS!

November 05 2012 at 12:05 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply