Investigation Shows Walgreens Stores Now Pricing Items Accurately

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JEFFERSON CITY - A KOMU 8 News investigation into pricing practices at Walgreens stores shows no signs of mis-priced items. The investigation follows an August lawsuit from the Missouri Attorney General's office accusing the drug chain of deceptive pricing.

In an August 27 news release, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster said the company used "false, misleading, and deceptive advertising and pricing schemes to lure consumers into purchasing certain products."

In late July, Koster sent investigators to eight Missouri Walgreens locations. The investigators bought 205 items total, took pictures of the price tags and found they were overcharged on 20 percent of the items.

But the KOMU 8 News investigation of two of previously-cited Walgreens locations--Jefferson City and Osage Beach--found no pricing problems. An assortment of 21 items varying from Oreo cookies to garbage bags all rang up as the same price marked.

Walgreens officials refused an on-camera interview about the pricing issues, but responded to the KOMU 8 News investigation with a written statement.

"As we said last August, we have a 112-year history of acting in our customers' best interests and earning their trust. That will continue to be our focus in all areas, and we're glad to see our stores following through to meet our customers' expectations," media relations representative Jim Graham wrote.

But the chief of the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division, Joe Bindbeutel, said the issue is about more than just overcharging.

"The overall amount of information that a consumer is faced with on a very minor purchase is something that we think at some point, if it's ambiguous or confusing and it takes a consumer longer than a certain period of time, a reasonable time, to figure out what they're paying, that's just inherently deceptive," said Bindbeutel. "Whether there's one single little tag down at the bottom that gives you the right price, it shouldn't be that difficult, it shouldn't be that tough on consumers."

Bindbeutel went on to say that to prevent overcharging or consumer deception, consumers should keep track of the prices advertised on the items and double check their receipts after shopping at retail stores.