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Inspectors say Safeway has been overcharging customers in Marin County

Marin County inspectors said they found some Safeway stores in the North Bay have been overcharging customers for several items.

During a recent set of routine visits by the Marin County Division of Weights and Measures, inspectors said they found produce, dairy and even detergent were ringing up higher than advertised.

“We found overcharges at those stores that resulted in consumer harm,” Marin County Weights and Measures Assistant Director Scott Wise said.

At one store, Haas avocados that were supposed to be $4 or $5 were rung up at $12. At another Safeway, eggplant was rung up at $5 more than the listed price. Detergent at another Safeway cost $2 more than advertised.

Wise said customers can contest the discrepancies immediately. He adds customers should know what they are entitled to when they contest.

“What is the correct price under California law? So, the correct price is the lowest price that is advertised, posted or quoted in a store,” Wise said.

Wise said even if any store was late taking down a sale price, the customer should get the benefit of the doubt under California law and would be entitled to the lower price.

Safeway has had issues with pricing in the past and have been sued by local and state authorities in 2008 and 2014. The grocery chain has had to pay millions of dollars in penalties and has agreed to a special settlement with all California customers anytime there is a price discrepancy.

“If the correct price you were overcharged on was over $5, then you get that item for the lowest correct price, plus a $5 gift card,” Wise said.

NBC Bay Area reached out to Safeway for comment Thursday about the Marin County inspector’s findings and did not hear back.

Wise said Safeway and other retailers had become pretty good about accurate pricing until the pandemic. But during the pandemic, the drop off in customers, employees, supply chain issues, and price surges have all combined to make accurate pricing a challenge.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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