National Consumers League

Make Every Dollar Count!


It only takes a trip to the grocery store to realize that the cost of food and gas is way up. Now more than ever, it is important to carefully review your receipts and bills to make sure that what you’re being charged accurately reflects what you think you’re buying!

How realistic is it, though, to expect shoppers to keep track of the prices they saw on shelves or weekly ads and remember them at the check-out? Our consumer experts at NCL say even if consumers don’t keep their eyes peeled to the price scanner, they still deserve to expect quality and integrity in the goods they buy and the customer service they receive.

There is a national government agency, the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), whose mission it is to protect consumers by regulating weights and measures laws and regulations for every state. NIST’s procedures apply to all retail stores, including food, general merchandise and hardware stores, so we’re, in theory, protected from stores cheating us when we make a purchase.

Here are some tips to help you avoid being shortchanged:

  • When you see an ad for a product at a certain price, cut it out and have it handy when you shop
  • Jot down prices you see on a shelf or display sign
  • Pay attention at the check out stand - look at the register as your items are being scanned. If you see a price that doesn't match what you were expecting to pay, say something! Don't agree to pay more for an item just to be polite.
  • Review the receipt before leaving the store or checking out online to ensure you agree with the prices you have been charged.
  • If necessary, complain to the store and register a complaint with your state attorney general.
  • Learn how to "be a badger" to get what you want when you're not satisfied with your service.