CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

December 16, 2010

Deceptive Pricing Practices


 

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

DECEPTIVE PRICING PRACTICES

Monte Holland with Carolyn Cornell Holland

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Below is the copy of a letter of complaint sent to a store following a careful shopping experience.

Greetings:

     Rite-Aid just lost one…no two…no three…customers in a five minute period on December 9, 2010.

     Their experience must be repeating itself in store after store, time after time.

    I’m one of those customers.

     I attempted to contact the e-mail of the Rite-Aid consumer rep without success. Maybe it is just as well that my comment goes to you (a secretary) and the board of directors.

     On December 9th, 2010, I purchased a number of items at the Latrobe (PA) Plaza store. My concern is not the store or its employees. My concern is with the UP program which offers coupons to be used for future purchases at the store. The coupons are offered for a current purchase. It’s a more complicated way of saving on purchases, and the store’s method of enticing customers back into the store.

     While my wife made a picture order, I wandered around the store. A number of food items were shelf-tagged as being on sale. Not only were they listed as on sale, but the tags listed UP savings. For example: Craisins were listed at two for $4 with an additional UP saving of $3. The shelf-tag indicated the final cost of this item was two for $1, or fifty cents each.

     A number of other items were similarly shelf-tagged with their sale price, UP savings, and final cost listed.  This thorough information convinced me that these were good prices that I could not pass up.

     After making the purchases I received my receipt, which listed a number of UP redemption coupons. My wife commented that, for the number of purchases I’d made, there weren’t many UP coupons.

      Later that day I returned to the store, where I discovered that the shelf listings should have provided me with $21 in UP coupons.  I had received $9 in UP coupons.

     I approached the checkout clerk, who informed me that the flier stated that the customer must purchase $12 worth of a particular group of products to receive a $3 UP coupon. Having done this, I had received a $3 UP coupon.  

     The store shelves did not provide this information. I certainly did not get the UP rewards as the shelf listed them. I shopped without the flier because I was browsing in the store. Thus, I was unaware of these special conditions.

     Following through on the Craisins purchase: If I had fulfilled the $12 purchase requirement by buying three pair (6 singular items) of Craisins at a total of $12. The flier indicated I would receive a $3 UP coupon, bringing the purchase price down to $9, or $1.50 each. The shelf-tag indicated that for each pair of Craisins purchased I would receive a $3 UP coupon, bringing the price of each individual item down to fifty cents. 

     Furthermore, it takes a degree of math competence beyond many shoppers’ ability, or time needed for calculation, to figure out what the end price actually becomes. I myself, having a PhD in physics, was challenged by this problem.

     This level of deceptive marking of prices is totally unethical. I will no longer shop at your store other than to recover some of my losses by redeeming the UP coupons I do have.

     Two other shoppers were caught, like I was, and were complaining at the same time I was.

     If your executive management continues such policies I suspect that many additional shoppers will soon catch on to what you are doing and exit your stores for good.

     All citizens, and especially senior citizens, are instructed to spend their money wisely. I am a person who attempts to stretch my dollars.  I don’t take kindly to corporations that try to take advantage of me.

    Please send me the balance of the $12 ($21 minus $9) in UP coupons that I calculated I should have from my store purchases, on based on the shelf prices/information in your store.

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ADDITIONAL READING:

LOGGING IN MAINE AND ON THE PERU-BRAZILIAN BORDER

Sun, Moon, Stars, Planets—I Want Them All

Things About Television That Irritate Me

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