Lena Kovadlo is a writer for various content-sharing websites. She's an author of 12 books and helps other authors publish theirs.
There is one thing that I've learned when shopping, and it is this: Never leave the store without checking the receipt first. You may be charged for items you never bought, or the price of the items you did buy will be higher than what it says on the price tag or on the shelf where you found them.
I had a number of shopping experiences where I was overcharged. I was charged more for items, was charged for items I never bought, and had incorrect items appear on my receipt because of a cashier's mistake. Had I not looked over the receipts before leaving the store, I'd have spent more money than I should have. Money doesn't grow on trees. Why should I give money away when it's clear a mistake has been made and it can clearly be fixed?
My Shopping Experience at TJ Maxx
I went to TJ Maxx one day and found two glass jars of my favorite preserves (Apricot and Mango Preserves by Kazlowksi Farms), along with pink Himalayan sea salt that I'd been seeking for quite some time. I was so happy to have found what I was looking for, and I went to the register to ring up my purchase.
After I stood in line for a bit, a register finally opened up. The cashier scanned everything, and I swiped my card to complete my purchase. The lady handed me my bag, along with the receipt, and told me to have a nice day. I was about to leave when suddenly I got a weird feeling that something wasn't right. I stayed by the register and looked over my receipt. I was glad I did that, because there was a mistake that needed to be fixed.
An Error on the Receipt
I noticed that the total paid was much higher than it should have been. The preserves were $3.29 each, and the sea salt was $5.99, so the total should have been $12.57. Instead it was $18, which means I was overcharged $5.43. How was that possible? Something just didn't add up. I scanned the list of items on the receipt to make sure the prices for my items were correct. There was no error there; however, I noticed a fourth item (a kitchen accessory) on the receipt that shouldn't have been there as I had only bought three things.
I wasn't going to leave the store until I got this taken care of. Why should I pay for something I didn't buy? I was about to tell the cashier about the issue with my purchase when she beat me to it and asked me if something was wrong. I told her that there was an extra item on my receipt that didn't belong to me as I had purchased only three items—the sea salt and the two preserves. I even told her the dollar amounts that were mine and one that wasn't.
Where Did the Fourth Item Come From?
At first, she looked at me like I was crazy. Then she took my receipt from me, looked it over, and after looking through my shopping bag, realized that there was indeed an extra item on my receipt that didn't belong there. She couldn't figure out why there was a fourth item on my receipt if it wasn't in the bag.
After spending a few minutes thinking about it, she realized the extra charge was for kitchen towels from a previous customer. She had rung up his item when he realized he forgot his wallet. He had told her to hold on to the towels and that he would be right back with the money. Apparently, he had not come back to pay for the towels, and the scanned item was still in the system when she was ringing me up. That's why my total was higher and why my card was charged the incorrect amount.
Problems Processing the Refund
The cashier apologized and told me she would issue me a refund. I thought it would be quick and easy to process the refund, but unfortunately it wasn't so. To process my refund, the cashier needed those towels. She went to the shelf behind the register to get the towels where she had placed them earlier, but the towels weren't there. They had disappeared, and without them she couldn't process the refund. She asked a few of the other cashiers about the towels, but no one knew what she was talking about.
I had to stand there for a while, wasting my precious time, to get back the money that shouldn't have been taken from me in the first place. Finally, after what seemed like forever, another worker appeared who—not knowing the towels were being held for a customer—had ended up putting them away. Problem solved. She didn't remember where she had placed them, though, so it took even longer to get my $5.43 refund put back on my card. But in the end it was finally taken care of.
My Shopping Experience at Whole Foods Market
One day, when shopping at Whole Foods Market, I noticed that the cashier rung up my item as something it wasn't. My item came up as sugar cane, yet there was no sugar cane in my cart. Perhaps she thought that what I was buying was sugar cane, or maybe she simply entered the wrong item code into the system. Regardless of the reason, it was not what I intended to buy, and it had to be fixed.
I let her know about it right away, since I noticed the mistake before I had paid for my items. She apologized, telling me she had entered the wrong item code by mistake. She took the incorrect charge off and re-scanned my item with the right item code. I paid for my purchase and left the register, but I still checked my receipt before leaving the store. It always pays to double check, and it's great that I did.
Another Wrong Item on the Receipt
After examining my receipt, I noticed that while the item count was correct, the item that should have been on the receipt wasn't there, and one of the items on my receipt that was (a white turnip) wasn't an item I had purchased. Clearly, that item was scanned using the wrong item code again.
I was about to go back to the register to get this sorted out because I didn't want to pay for something I never got; however, after noticing that the price of the white turnip was lower than the price of what I had actually bought, I chose not to go through with it. I didn't have the time for it. Plus, it was her mistake after all.
My Shopping Experience at Victoria's Secret
I went to Victoria's Secret one day to look at bras. The bras were on sale. Happy to get what I wanted and at a discount, I went to ring up my purchase and swiped my card to pay. Nothing seemed wrong; however, I still decided to check my receipt before leaving the store. Upon doing that, I noticed that one of the bras that had a discounted sticker on it was rung up at full price.
I went to the cashier to get this taken care of, but she couldn't help me and told me that I had to get the manager. When the manager arrived, I told her what happened and was gladly issued a refund for the amount that I was overcharged. Had I not checked the receipt before leaving the store, I would have ended up paying full price for a bra that should have cost me half as much.
Do You Check Your Receipts?
Do you always check your receipts before leaving the store? Have you ever been overcharged? And if you've ever been charged less than you should have been charged, do you bring it up to the cashier or just let it go and go home? Please share your shopping experiences in the comments.
What About You?
Lena Kovadlo (author) from Staten Island, NY on April 04, 2019:
I am not sure if they will refund the money but it never hurts to try.
Patricia on April 03, 2019:
I was overcharged $3.00 at a currency exchange when paying a utility bill. Can I return the next day and try to get my money?
Lena Kovadlo (author) from Staten Island, NY on July 30, 2018:
I think you should try going back there and tell them what happened. They may give you the money back.
Krunil on July 29, 2018:
Today we went to Sears and the cashier who attending us she's talking with someone else and she added item twice. We didn't realised in the store. We back home and I checked the bill then I found we paid extra money. I thought to go back store and I tried calling them but the store has been closed by that time. So would you please suggest whether I could go back to store Tomorrow and ask my money or I can't do anything.
Thelma Alberts from Germany and Philippines on September 25, 2017:
Yes, I checked my receipt from shopping as I have experienced what you have experienced, too. I was charged of the item which I have not bought and sometimes I was overcharged. Checking our receipts could save us money.