16 CFR Part 424 Retail Food Store Advertising and Marketing Practices Rule, Project No. P104203
As a customer on a budget who carefully scans weekly advertisements for savings I consistently come home without the sale items used to lure shoppers into the store. Drugstores CVS and Rite-Aid, retailer Target, grocery stores Giant Food Store, Weis Market Stores, Fezel's County Market and Shop and Save Stores and Your Neighborhood Market are famous for not having the advertised items in stock and in some instances, not ringing up at the sale price six days into the sale, leaving me wondering "Am I the first one to call them out on their deception after many days into the sale or is the store purposefully failing to correct the problem?" Grocery store deception knows no bounds as they will advertise absurd quantities of items for one price leading people to believe they must purchase the entire advertised amount to receive the savings. My favorite deception is buy one/get one free as they ring you up for both items, then subtract one of the items but will not allow a shopper to use a coupon for "Buy 2 get $$'s off the purchase" requiring you to buy a total of 4 items to use the coupon. Exactly how many bottles of pancake syrup do empty-nesters really need? In one instance Giant Food store did offer to allow me to purchase their store brand for the advertised sale price of a depleted brand-name item. However, I shop with coupons and did not have a coupon for the store brand so I declined their deceptive offer. Fezel's County Market will advertise 3 items for $5 but will label the shelves with 2 for $4, which I call to the manager's attention. He will check the flyer with the signage, tell me they will give it to me for the cheaper flyer price but fail to correct the signage or the registers. Items failing to scan at the advertised price is a continuing issue at all stores. If I were to deceive a retailer at the register, it is considered theft. What is is called when a retailer cheats a customer? Listed in the local newspaper's police log, our local Walmart charged a patron with theft by deception for presenting coupons that did not exactly match the product she placed on the belt. Walmart is famous for inaccurate scanned prices. What recourse does the average customer have to protect themselves from deceptive advertising and scanning practices? Large department stores will advertise items especially clothing, shoes and bedding but will only have a couple of items in each size. These stores are saturating numerous counties with their flyers knowing full well they cannot meet the demand of customers who must drive an hour to the nearest store. Target, unable to meet the demand of customers, uses the line "It's a seasonal item" as their excuse. All retailers should be required to abide by the same advertising practices rule and the rules should be tightened to protect the customer, especially the ever increasing older population and the unsuspecting younger generation.