Back-to-school deals may be no bargain at check-out - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Back-to-school deals may be no bargain at check-out

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A consumer alert as shoppers head out for last-minute back-to-school supplies: you could be paying more than you should be. Here's more on why it pays to check your receipt.

The results of a year-long inspection of 1,600 stores throughout San Diego County finds one of four stores is over-charging its customers, many of whom have no idea they're paying more than they should.

"I just think everybody is watching their pennies for everything," said San Diego resident and mother of three Jori Mendel, who was back-to-school shopping for her kids Tuesday afternoon.

One things that Mendel herself is well-schooled in: checking her receipt to make sure she hasn't been over-charged for any item.

Pricing errors at retail stores, from grocery to convenience stores to larger chain outfits, happen more often than you may think.

Over the past year, county inspectors visited 1,600 retail stores and checked out more than 26,000 items.

"We found, as usual, a fair number of over charges occurring," said Lisa Leondis of the County Dept. Of Agriculture, Weights and Measures. "About 25 percent of the stores we inspected had over charged."

Just as surprising to some shoppers: how much more they're overpaying.

At grocery or convenience stores, the average overcharge was 45 cents. At other retail stores, the overcharge averaged three dollars.

Some consumers said they're just too busy to check their receipt.

"I'm usually just in a hurry or you trust the cashier is going to do it right," said one shopper in Clairemont.

Others, like San Diego resident Durwood Murray, make it a habit to monitor each item as it's being scanned at the register.

"You know, mistakes can happen," Murray told News 8. "I just want to make sure I'm paying what I should be paying."

"Make sure you're paying the lowest advertised price," Leondis added, "whether on a shelf or an end display or an ad: whatever's been advertised or whatever the lowest price is, that is the price the consumer's entitled to pay."

If you do spot a pricing error, report it to store management. If you're not able to resolve the problem on the spot, you can report it to the County.

Call 1-888-TRUE SCAN (1-888-878-3722) to report overcharges you could not resolve with the store.

Visit www.sdcawm.org for more information.

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