Kroger Scan-Right Guarantee

We do quite a bit of our grocery shopping at Kroger. They have this thing called the Scan Right Guarantee. Basically, if the price of an item, once scanned, is different than the price marked on the shelf, you get the item for free.

I have been taking full advantage of this lately.

A few weeks back, I realized I had been charged double on a fresh pack of bratwurst buns. The package was marked at $2.99 with “Kroger Card” savings making the final price $1.50. It seemed like a fair deal, so I bought it. Once I returned home, I realized I had been charged the original price, twice what I was willing to pay for the item.

So I kept the receipt around and waited until I finished the buns in order to bring them back for a refund. Unfortunately, my brother ate the last bun and threw the bag away, not knowing I needed it to get a price adjustment.

Since that day, I have decided to nitpick every single price on every single item I purchase at Kroger. If I am going to have to monitor my grocery prices like a hawk to ensure I am charged the price shown on the shelf, I’m going to take full advantage of any benefits that this requirement placed on me carries with it. If it does not scan right, I get it free. I don’t care if the shelf says $1.00 and I’m charged $0.50. If it scans wrong– high or low– it’s free.

Last week, I got a free pound of asparagus, $3.00 value. Today, I just got a free pound of strawberries, a $2.50 value.

Today’s free strawberries ticked me off, though. The big sign in front of the produce section says “California Strawberries, $1.98/lb”. OK, fair deal. Jaime loves strawberries. I’ll get her some. I get to the area where I scan and I bag my groceries and I scan the strawberries last, knowing Kroger’s prices are most often wrong on produce. They scan at $2.99.

OK, so it’s a wrong scan. I’m overcharged by $1.01. I politely tell the employee, he goes and checks the sign while I wait, and comes back to tell me the price was $2.50 on the sign. I went and got the sign, and brought it back to him. He and the manager point out that the sign says it is for a sale on Friday. OK, fine. Why put the sale dates in tiny, tiny print (about 1/10th the size of the prices and about 1/4th the size of the description on the sign) and then proceed to put the sign right in front of the produce? Oh yeah, I get it– you’re trying to confuse me into buying the strawberries at full price based on a glance at the sign and not a thorough reading of the relative fine print. Shady, Kroger, shady.

I tell the guy I don’t want them and then I realize– wait a second, I was charged $2.99, the sale price was $1.98, and the shelf price was $2.50. I was still charged wrong. I tell the guy as much and he says, “that’s the price for different strawberries.” So, again I walk over to the produce to read the sign. One sign: $2.50. One display of strawberries, two brands but all the same size. No differentiation between the two packages at all. These things are all supposed to be the same price because they are to be sold as the same product; Kroger just happened to get stock from two different sources.

I went back to the guy, who was talking to the manager, and said, “The shelf says $2.50. The Scan-Right Guarantee says I get them for free, even with the misleading sign.”

He says, “Take them.” So I did.

As a service to anyone who shops at Kroger or any other store with a similar scanning policy, I recommend you grab a piece of paper and write down the cost of each of your items. It takes two seconds per item. I find that about 10% of items scan incorrectly, concentrated mostly on produce. On today’s purchase, I saved 25%, a huge savings.

12 thoughts on “Kroger Scan-Right Guarantee

  1. Wow, huge effort for some strawberries. Is there any alternative to Krogers for you?

  2. Roger – something Mike didn’t mention here is that, time permitting, he likes engaging in these sorts of exchanges. :D

  3. Hah!

    I don’t like engaging in these sort of exchanges, Jaim, but I dislike them less than being blatantly ripped off by companies that make billions of dollars a year.

    I agree, Roger, huge effort for some strawberries. Certainly not as much effort as growing my own, which I’ve tried and failed, but still a big effort.

    The thing is, though, that I buy a ton of produce. We cook with a lot of fresh ingredients. I could seeing it being too much of an effort if I decided, “Hey, I’m going to go get free produce.” But if I’m buying produce, and they have a free-if-if-scans-wrong policy, I’m going to take advantage of that. It’s not like I’m loading my cart up, checking out, and then not purchasing anything that scans correctly… heh!

    The other grocery stores in the area are Piggly Wiggly, Publix, and Walmart.

    Piggly Wiggly used to be our store of choice, but over time the quality of their meats rapidly declined. In fact, we stopped shopping there because we consider their meat unsafe for consumption. They have open freezers/coolers there, and they defrost them without emptying the meat into another freezer. Their temperature gauge was often room temperature, their meats covered in condensation, and you could smell rotting meat. I notified the management many times before finally taking my business elsewhere.

    Walmart is, well, Walmart. It seems to me that they’re always willing to sacrifice quality to lower prices, and their produce section is no different. Plus, their lines are insanely long, and the store itself is about 10 miles away, compared to just a couple miles for the rest of the stores.

    Publix is great. I’d love to shop there all the time. But, I just can’t afford it. Publix is typically 10 – 50% higher on just about every item they sell compared to the other grocery stores. They do have the absolute best meats short of a butcher shop or the insanely overpriced Fresh Market, but good meat doesn’t justify the price on every other item. Plus, one thing I hate about Publix is that they take their produce, separate it out into what they consider to be a desirable portion, and then Styrofoam and shrink-wrap it like it is meat. Why do I need three zucchini squash on a Styrofoam plate, wrapped in shrink wrap? I’d rather pick them out myself, put them right in my basket, and wash them when I get home (as I do anyway) than generate a bunch of unnecessary waste.

    Anyway, yeah, I write down the price of produce and make sure I’m charged the right price. I don’t go out of my way to find pricing errors, but when I find them I’ll gladly take the few minutes to get it for free. Eventually, they’ll recognize me and will begin to speed the process up.

    Or hey, maybe they’ll just be sure to price their produce right so I can pay for what I use. I’d be happy with that… heh!


  4. I was just searching topics out there about Kroger’s incorrect scan policy, and I’ve stumbled across your blog. I’m not quite sure how these blogs work, and I’m sorry if I have intruded on a personal web page. I was just interested in some feedback for my latest Kroger incident.

    My home-town Kroger would give me that one item free, should it scan wrong, as you have written about in your blog. Just last night, however, a Kroger just a town away, which so happens to be my new closest Kroger, has told me I have their policy wrong. They showed me it in writing, and I must have read it over and over 20 times, and I feel it is very ambiguous. They claim that I have to pay for the item w/corrected shelf price first, then take my “printed” receipt to customer service, where they will give me one more item free. So in essence, this is a buy one get one free policy. I don’t agree w/this in my interpretation of what I saw in writing, but their is something peculiar about the part that goes something like this: when an item scans “and prints” higher than… blah blah blah… “you get one item free”. They claim the printing part means I have to pay first for my item and get a receipt, then I get one (extra) item free. Others I have spoken with, believe that “one item free” means customer service should give a full refund of the incorrectly scanned item, and not offer a second item for free.

    Anyhow, I whole-heartedly agree w/you about watching those prices like a hawk. I spend an awful long time choosing items based on unit prices, quality, etc., in the first place, and if one of those flashy yellow deals catches my eye, then I am wheeled in. In these times where penny pinching is a must, I feel it is a crime, when I have pondered and pondered each item to buy, only for it to ring up twice as much, and not what I was willing to pay when I chose that item over other comparable items. Kroger is notorious for not updating their sales at the registers, or not removing shelf stickers after the sale is over. For every person who catches a mis-scan, there are probably 100+ people who don’t.

    Ultimately, I brought this up to the manager on that shift, and he told me he would look into their interpretation. He was rather pleasant and said it’s not worth losing a customer over, but then he also told stories about people just looking to get stuff for free. I guess people like that exist, but for the most part, I hardly think a person has the time or money to fill their cart w/sale items, in the hopes that at least one item will be free. For the most part, they are people like us, who want to pay what we decided we were willing to pay when we placed that item in the cart.

    Now, is my new Kroger wrongly interpreting their Scan-Right Guarantee?


  6. Today is 9/14/11—I went to Kroger and one of the items I bought was Kroger roll sausage (2 for $5 the sign said). I’m not big on Kroger’s sausage anyway, but better than prices of other sausage there. They charged me $3.39/roll. So I went to Customer Service and (of course) they sent a “runner” to verify my claim of wrong scan. Runner returned with sign and noted sign was expired and should not have been on sausage. Nevertheless it was price on the product, so Service Desk person says I get one free and pay sales price for the other one. Whoooaa! Kroger’s policy has always been get the item(s) free. Now they say not so. Pay sales price for one and other one is free.
    I noted that Kroger used to take great pains to advertise their “price guarantee” via correct scanning. They used to send folks around to scan prices and ensure correctness. That was their job—check prices! Evidently they have ceased that operation and changed their policy!

  7. Today 1-6-12 – I went to Kroger to pick up a few things, I happened to notice the Mayfield Ice Cream was on sale for $4.99 and also buy one get one free on the 4 dy sale event, so I got it. When I checked my receipt before leaving I noticed the charge was $2.84 a carton, so I went to the customer service desk and told the clerk that it rang up wrong, she then went to the cooler to make sure of the price, after about 4 minutes of standing there she finally returned with the price sticker in her hand. Right away I knew they forgot to remove a sales sticker from the cooler the $4.99 one to be exact. She then told me the sale was for original price only, I then told her the flyer did not state that. But I left anyway. After returning home I got to thinking about it and looked up the flyer again which just stated buy one get one free, so I called the manager, He informed me the customer service rep was wrong and to bring my reciept back by for my scan right refund, so I did, of course i get the customer service rep from my previous visit, and she scowled and gave me a refund for 1 of the items, when I asked again what the policy was she said on buy one get one free you get the first free and pay the sale price of the second, Okay!!!!, they both rang up wrong if i had bought one I would have gotten it free, why not the secong, tired of fighting, should have gone somewhere else .

  8. Kroger Scan-Right Guarantee
    Kroger has a Scan Right Guarantee that is often advertised on signs in store. Basically, if a product rings up at a price different from the one listed in-store or in-ad, they must give you that product FREE and every additional identical purchase will be adjusted to the sale price. (The kroger scan right policy right from their website.
    Rome, GA Krogers Absolute BS. I bought dog chew chips; price $8.89; I was charged $9.95. The first time I was refunded the entire purchase price. Two weeks later, same dog chips, same over ring, I was refunded $5. Three weeks after that, same dog chips, same over ring. When I brought the receipt into Krogers 10/29 at about 5PM and presented the receipt at the service desk, I was given a 97cent refund. When I questioned it, the woman lied right to my face saying that only items under $5 are refunded. I tried reaching Steve Van Meter, Rome, GA store manager, today: 11/1 and nobody knew when he’d be in or available. I asked for the corporate number and when I called, I found a pin was required to complete the call: which the store carefully neglected to give me. I found a customer service number on facebook; 1800 567-4377. When I called that number, I was informed in a l-o-n-g pre-recorded message that I just won a fabulous Bahamas cruise and after the entire speel, was given the choice to opt out, which I did. Then I was treated to the entire speel again giving me a second chance for just $59, etc. etc. When I opted out the 2nd time, I got a busy signal. You think this isn’t going out to every blog in the world – think again. Crystal, Rome, GA. a former loyal customer.

  9. Your still wrong about the scan right policy at kroger. Policy states any item under $5 that scans incorrectly the first item is free. Any item after the first is adjusted to price. Items over $5 the price is adjusted and you get $5 off the price.

  10. I have come to the conclusion that the policy for incorrectly scanned items is a closely guarded rather fluid policy based on alleged sightings of fictitious “in writing” published policies further convoluted as they are subject to interpretation of the employee reading the policy to you and further by the mood of the day of that employee.

    This is the policy for any and every grocery store.

  11. I have experienced almost everything all of you have experienced and I am sick and tied of untrained employees who waste your time after wasting your money over charging you for products. Anyone interested in a class action lawsuit? I am going to look into it as deceptive trade practices and false advertising.

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