Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Does Walgreens owe you $27?

Dinged for deceptive advertising about its cold and flu immune booster, Walgreens cuts $219,000 in checks to consumers. That's nothing to sneeze at.

By Mitch Lipka Sep 20, 2013 5:16PM

Woman sneezing (© Eric Audras/ONOKY/Getty Images)Walgreens shoppers who bought the store's Wal-Born -- boosted by claims that the supplements could prevent the common cold, help users fend off germs and boost the immune system -- will be instead coming down with a little money.

The Federal Trade Commission announced today that nearly 8,000 checks, averaging more than $27, are being mailed to consumers who filed claims after it was found that the advertising campaign for these products was deceptive.

Walgreens is one of several retailers that have had to compensate consumers who bought into the idea that they were going to get some special protection that didn't exist. Walgreens and the others -- including CVS and Rite Aid -- produced and marketed their own versions of the supplement Airborne. Airborne settled charges with the FTC in 2008, agreeing to pay $30 million.

Payments in the Walgreens case will total about $219,000. The checks, which are limited to no more than $30, have to be cashed within 60 days of their issue date. The filing deadline to receive compensation has already passed.

The FTC notes that sometimes scams are associated with such settlements and that the agency will not ask for any personal information or any payment to receive a settlement.

Consumers are urged to be more skeptical about the marketing around supplements. The FTC offers the following tips for how to spot potentially fraudulent boasts about supplements:

  • Claims that one product does it all and cures a wide variety of health problems.
  • Suggestions the product can treat or cure diseases.
  • Phrases including "scientific breakthrough," "miraculous cure," "exclusive product," "secret ingredient," or "ancient remedy."
  • Misleading use of scientific-sounding terms.
  • Phony references to Nobel Prize winning technology or science.
  • Undocumented testimonials by patients or doctors claiming miraculous results. 

More from MSN Money:

Sep 20, 2013 9:21PM
WalGreens is a Joke.  My mother had a stroke on June 24th, and was released from her rehab on Sept 5th.  She had 9 prescriptions that needed filled.  She's 72 and on Medicare.  My father spent 22 years in the Army, and thus mom also has Tri-Care for life.  I dropped her prescriptions off at 10 am on Sept 6th, and was told it would be a few hours for them to be filled.  This was fine, as the store is less than a mile from my home.  Mom had a Dr. appt. later in the afternoon that same day, which was about 40 minutes drive away.  Upon returning home near 6 pm I went to pick up the prescriptions.  The Pharmacist informed my that my Moms Medicare had  (Medicare doesn't expire).  So I asked if she called Medicare.  1-800-Medicare, to ask what the issue was with the coverage.  She said no.  I asked if she ran it through Tri-Care for life, and she then, and ONLY then informed me that WalGreens didn't accept Tri-Care.  Yet she took the card in the morning.  They said I could just pay for the prescriptions since they had filled them,  $1173!!!!

I said,  forget it,  just give me the original prescriptions back, and she said she couldn't do that because the drugs were already taken from inventory, and if I wanted the prescriptions back, I would have to wait for them to do their paperwork, and put them back into inventory.  Needless to say, I raised hell, and got loud and demanded my prescriptions back, and told them I didn't give a rats **** about their inventory issues.

I asked who does take Tri-Care, and the answer was everyone else.  Rite-Aid was about another mile down the road.  Again she said,  it would be easiest if I just paid the $1173.00

I went to rite aid the next morning, and everything was filled withing an hour, and there was not any issue with her Medicare at all.  What wasn't covered by Medicare was picked up mainly by Tri-Care for life, and the only part left out of pocket was $25.00.

I will not shop at Wal-Greens again for anything.  
Sep 20, 2013 8:14PM

Walgreens used to have ethics and was honest with their customers and employees.

Now they have neither.

Walgreens has shown over and over in the past few years that the only thing that

matter to them is money.

Well they can take their money and --- it.

Sep 20, 2013 8:16PM
I had a checkout clerk (pharmacist?) tell me that I had jumped the line. I had not. She was incredibly certain that I had 'jumped the line' even after the clerk next to her had told me to just wait by stepping aside because my script was coming right up. When I told this to the one that admonished me, she told me that she would 'let it go THIS TIME'. She refused to apologize. Absolutely no class.
Sep 21, 2013 12:08PM
"REALLY.".....    I had a Walgreen's  Employee come to me while i was in the store and told me they have video of me putting merchandise from the store in my purse....  So she was saying i was  stealing from them.  I asked for a manager and to please call the police.  (If i was being accused i wanted to view video and have a witness to the allegation. )  The main reason for going to this store was it was close and i needed a phone charger for my car.  My old charger wasn't working   and my cell phone was dead.  So they refused to call the Police,  And never let me see the so called video. I dumped my purse on the counter.  Opened my wallet and Let my money be seen.  I had over a thousand dollars cash.   It was closing time and the manager threatened to lock me in the store if i didn't leave..  I couldn't make a call and there wasn't a pay phone around.  I called Walgreen's corporate headquarters the next day.  They acted concerned but i never received an apology, phone call ,nothing...    They just lost a good customer! 
Sep 21, 2013 2:38AM
Wow, I don't know which Walgreens you all go to, but I really like mine.  I have gone there for years for prescriptions and a bit of shopping if they have really good specials.  Everyone is nice to me and I have never had any problems with rude clerks or pharmacists.  I'm sorry some people are not having the same good experience as I have had.
Sep 21, 2013 12:28AM
i get my prescriptions filled at walgreens too and had been for at least two years and when i went to pick them up the lady asked me my phone number like they usually do then she asked my address and i told her then she asked my date of birth and i said wtf is the 20 questions. it's high blood pressure medication not narcotics. all she had to do is ask me for my drivers license and i wouldn't have had any problem but apparently they aren't very well trained or too smart or both.
Sep 20, 2013 8:01PM

the tyrant333:

I concur - I live very close to a Walgreens. While other stores sell "Buy one get one free", and if you get only one they will give you one at 1/2 price. Not so with Walgreens, and their Pharmacists are like the Queen of England. They are never available for consulting or simple questions, you may have to wait 30 minutes or more and even then if you are lucky you may be able to talk to them.


I enjoyed your rant "...that is at the corner of unhappy and rip offs that is Walgreens ", I could not have said it better...Lol!

Sep 21, 2013 12:13AM
Walgreens has the worst customer service!! It's like they can't take care of one person at a time.  I went in this morning because my Prescription was ready.  I waited 20 minutes at the counter while they sorted it all out, but this is what gets me.  One of the ladies started helping another man who got there 15 minutes after me.  the lady helping me passed me off to her and went to do a flu shot.  So I had to wait for her to finish with her guy when all she had to do was walk my package down to me and let me pay and leave.  Not sure why they can't just say, sorry, I'll be right with you but this gentlemen or lady has been waiting a long time...they try to multitask, but they suck at it!!!
Sep 21, 2013 12:28AM
what I hate about Walgreen's is that even when they say purchasing a certain quantity of a certain product will result in a $$$ coupon being issued to you....what they don't tell you is that you have to use it on a different day AND within 48 hours AND for a minimum 2nd purchase amount!  
Sep 20, 2013 8:50PM
It is funny how many people think that buy one get one free means you can get one at half which has never been the case. You also pay full price for the first one in the buy one get one. And if it is buy one get one free why are you not getting the second one? Now that have prices list on products for all to see.
Sep 23, 2013 10:41AM
Ugh! I hate Walgreens. I had a purchase that came to $3.57. I had the bills but had to dig for the .57 (about 5 seconds---yes really.) I had put the bills on the counter and so I put the change on the bills. The cashier just stared at me. I had the exact change. She said loudly "That is SO rude of you to do that." "What?" I replied. "TO THROW THE MONEY ON THE COUNTER." she screamed at me. I know for a fact that I didn't throw anything at her. I just put money on the counter. I was so embarrassed that I took the money back and walked out. Never again will I go to Walgreens.
Sep 23, 2013 8:35AM

I sent my 20 something to Walgreens to get a $14.95 flu shot. The bill was actually $59.95!! You think I will ever go back to Walgreens for anything?


Greedy jerks. 

Sep 23, 2013 8:59AM


I called Walgreen's once to check on a prescription and to ask how late the store was open.  I was told it closed at 9:00 PM.  When I arrived at 8:30 PM to pick up the prescription I was told, "Sorry but the drug counter closed at 7:00 PM."  Must be a "convenience" store rather then a drug store!  I haven't been back since!!

Sep 23, 2013 11:43AM
Headline: "Does Walgreens Owe You $27?"
Story: "The filing deadline to receive compensation has already passed."

....and WALGREENS is the one with deceptive advertising?
Sep 23, 2013 6:13AM
The most expensive drugstore around..

Deceptive advertising? Walgreen's doesn't hold a monopoly on that practice..I don't shop there,simply because of their prices..

Sep 20, 2013 11:58PM
I think this article is more centered on Airborne's misleading advertising leading to copy-cat generic products.Airborne sucks- took a class trip to france senior year, 3 of us came down with awful colds after the plane ride, and we were the ONLY 3 who took airborne before the flight.
Sep 20, 2013 9:47PM
Lets look at two phrases.  First, the ads " that the supplements could prevent the common cold, ..."  They don't say it WILL prevent the common cold. Don't "ask your doctor" ads often use terms like "may prevent", "could prevent', "may cure", "could cure", etc?  Now let's look at another phrase...." was found that the .....'  I would love to see these two concepts applied to the legal drug lords and have them penalized for the destruction, addiction and deaths they cause.  I think ALL "ask your doctor" ads should be made illegal.  But, our country has degenerated to drug sales with "ask your doctor" ad, medicare supplements, and reverse mortgage scams.  No real jobs left so they have to create them with "ask your doctor" ads.  Creates medical staffing jobs.
Sep 21, 2013 2:06AM
I like Walgreens but, for my meds I use CVS. I once went in and they ask my name and I told them and then ask me to confirm the address on the RX and it told them and my insurance is usually $4.00 for all meds and they said like $2.25 which I did not question it because I have paid under $4.00 a few times. Got home and it was my Z-pak and the name was the same but, I lived at a totally different address on the sheet. Then I went back to them to make sure it was indeed my RX and Zpak and they said yes it was mine and then refunded my $2.25 and said $4.00 please and acted like it was my fault. They ask if the person confirmed the address and name and YES THEY DID.
Sep 20, 2013 11:47PM
Sep 20, 2013 7:22PM
Walgreens is a rip off any way. why would you want buy from them to get a deal with them you must buy 2 of the same thing or pay full price for 1 of the items like I say rip off. that is at the corner of unhappy and rip offs that is walgreens  
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


Smart Spending brings you the best money-saving tips from MSN Money and the rest of the Web. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.