Price error at checkout: the right reflexes to avoid being fooled


At a time when inflation is booming, the French are hunting for good deals. And supermarkets make their task rather easy, by highlighting tempting promotions on their shelves.

However, you have to be wary of some offers, which only look good. And check carefully, at checkout, that you are paying for these promotions at the price displayed in the store.

“I’m not sure that everyone realizes this, but it happens, explains Olivier Gayraud of the association Consumption Housing Framework of life.

Naïma, 28, almost got tricked into her local supermarket in Lyon. “There was a 3 for 2 promo on cookies. So I took three packets. Arrived at the cash desk, I realize on the ticket that the biscuits cost me the “normal” price.”

The young woman does not intend to let it go. She immediately reports the differential to the cashier.

“She told me she had to check with her superior. The operation took some time, but in the end, I was reimbursed”, continues Naïma.

Because by law, merchants are required to sell you a product at the price displayed in the store, whether or not it is incorrect. “Do not hesitate, let’s not forget that the rule is that the price displayed on the shelves applies, unless the seller is clearly mistaken”, assures Olivier Gayraud.

Indeed, the circular of July 19, 1988 states that “in the presence of a product marked or labeled at two different prices, it is customary for the customer to be asked for the lower price, when this is in with the value of the article”.

For the brand to agree to let you pay the lowest price, it must not be too far from the initial value of the product, therefore. “Manifest error when the price is clearly derisory, for example, for a leather jacket displayed at 10 euros”, explains Olivier Gayraud of CLCV.

But for you to be granted the promotion displayed, you must first report the error on the price. There is only one solution for this: be very vigilant.

To avoid being cheated, you must check that in-store promotions are taken into account: in general, you can find the discounts applied at the end of your purchases on your receipt.

Olivier Gayraud’s trick? “As soon as a promo appeals to me and guides my purchase, I take out my smartphone and take a picture. It helped me only two days ago! Arrived at checkout , you know what has been displayed on the shelf, and you are entitled to ask to pay this price”, he insists.

The best thing is still to make sure that the price displayed and the price you will pay are the same before the purchase, thanks to the terminals which allow you to scan the barcodes of the products, when they are present. If there is a difference, report the glitch to the trade. Of course, you can always ask to pay the displayed price if it is more advantageous.

According to a recent survey by the DGCCRF, about 10% of the 300 establishments visited display incorrect prices. If the accounts are not good, it is because these prices, in most cases, are not updated in time by the employees, who are understaffed.

Sometimes, the difference between the price displayed on the shelves and that paid at the checkout is significant. Catherine, in her fifties, paid the price. “It was a nice piece of meat, displayed on promotion because the use-by date was approaching. Except that in reality, it was not at all on the discount. Arrived at the checkout, seeing the exorbitant price, I had to take it off the mat,” she said.

Antoine, 35, was luckier. “A branded digital tablet, which should normally cost around 300 euros, was displayed at 170 euros. I asked a salesman if that was the correct price, and he said there had been a mistake, but they still had to sell it at the list price, so I was able to Make a good deal”.

The 30-year-old also systematically takes the reflex to check that in-store promotions apply during each checkout.

Another probable case: the price in store differs from the price displayed in the catalog of a brand. Here too, you can demand that the price of the prospectus apply.

In any case, stay vigilant, so as not to miss any opportunity to save money.