Customer sues Wal-Mart over 2 cents
The Pittsburgh-area consumer advocate made a successful case against the retail behemoth.
Mary Bach bought a package of Banquet Brown 'N Serve sausage labeled 98 cents at the freezer case. But it rang up for 2 cents more. When she pointed out the discrepancy, the cashier gave her the lower price.
Six days later, it happened again. This time, Bach took Wal-Mart to court -- and won. Post continues after video.
"Murrysville District Judge Charles Conway sided with Bach in her civil lawsuit alleging unfair trade practices. He awarded Bach $100 in damages, plus about $80 in court costs," the Tribune-Review reported.
The retail behemoth argued that Banquet had just changed the package and the UPC, so the old ones were ringing up for 98 cents and the new packages cost a buck. Both the old and new were still being sold by the store.
Wal-Mart also argued that Bach, a consumer advocate, was just looking for another excuse to sue the Delmont, Pa., store (where, we suspect, employees cringe when she walks through the door). She's sued that Pittsburgh area store four times before over similar allegations. (You can read about some of her previous legal battles here, here and here. She has also successfully sued Kmart and other retailers, but lost a case over how Wal-Mart charges sales tax on items discounted with a coupon.)
Bach says it's the principle: Wal-Mart should make sure it doesn't charge more than the advertised price. (The $100 award plus court costs is the minimum allowed under Pennsylvania law for such cases.)
To some, Bach is a hero. Posted reader "Kevin Hooper" at The Huffington Post:
Do you people not realize how much overcharging a few cents per transaction costs us? Take a behemoth like Wal-Mart, even if they only overcharge 10% of the time it would mean tens of millions in overpayment.
Said a reader at WeUseCoupons.com, "Well, good for her. I don't have the time for it nor the inclination but she has picked up the gauntlet for the little person and is waving it at Walmart."
Some think her efforts are misguided at best. "What a waste of time," commented "Dan Doyle" at HuffPost. "Maybe she should sue the government for wasting her money instead and make a significant point."
Wrote "disgusted!" at lehighvalleylive.com: "Really? With everything that's going on in the world she's whining over 2 freaking cents!"
Still, there's something everyone should learn from this: Always check your receipt and do it before you leave the store. The Los Angeles County Department of Consumer Affairs has other tips:
Pay attention to the cash register display to be sure you are charged the correct price.
Immediately point out overcharges to the cashier.
Ask about the store's policy on overcharges. If you are overcharged, some stores will give you the item free or offer a discount.
Note: Receipt checks by store employees as you head to the door are also strictly voluntary on your part unless it's included in a membership agreement, like the one at Costco, MSN Money's Liz Weston has said.
More on MSN.com:
You are all missing the point! This lady has nothing better to do than tie up the court system with frivolous lawsuits! She will now cause the price of items to increase in the store to make up costs for her lawsuit and defending itself over other ridiculous lawsuits.
A store that sells as many products as Walmart is bound to make price mistakes. Remember, there are human workers responsible for the layouts and changing prices in the store. What it boils down to is free enterprise. If she doesn't like the fact that Walmart makes mistakes...go somewhere else! No one is forcing her to shop there.
I truly hope someone sues her the next time she makes a mistake at her job. If (And that is a BIG IF) she has one. I’m upset with her and equally upset with the kooky judge that decided in her favor. Obviously, a strong understanding of consumer law is not his bag. A computer glitch was the mistake and she never had to pay for the incorrect price of the product.
I would suggest everyone in the Murrysville area to vote Judge Charles Conway out of office.
It did NOT cost Wal-Mart $180 to defend themselves in this lawsuit. It actuallly cost much, much more. Thousands in lawyers fees, lost work time from anyone who was called to testify for the company, to name two points. Who will end up paying for that? That's right, we, the consumers.
Here's my two cents worth....Mary can stick those two pennies up her whiny nose.
This woman is a piece of ferrel crap. Thi is exactly why the court system is tied up the way it is and why business is so expensive to operate.
Your suing giant retail over 2 pennies??? Something tells me you are no better than those crooked thief that likes to go around retail stores switching labels on the shelf and then have the audacity to argue at the register cuase it rang up a different price tag. I've work for retail stores in the past and I know that 90% of the time you'll have some idiots come into the stores and will purposely try switching the shelf label or putting items in the wrong spot hence creating a price discrepancy for another customer that comes along and see that specific item in the wrong home not knowing that the upc doesn't match that price. So it's not always the retail store's fault for the pricing errors. Walmart has like the best deals ever and not only that they'll price match any other retailers thereby saving me even more on gas of having to drive all over town trying to get a better deal. If that women thinks a dollar is way too expensive even if it says 98 cent on the shelf. than by all means go shop somewhere else where they'll charge her a hell of a lot more for that same product. Not to mention that you're shopping at one of the busiest retailors in the world. When you have a busy days like that during business hour you tend to get sidetrack on some of your product and may have forgotten to change or fix the shelf label price. That happens a lot during on business hours. As a customer you just have to use common sense and view both labels first. If you see something that seems to be too good to be true,then try to make sure that the upc of the product matches the one on the shelf before you take it.
I'll say it again; THIS IS WHAT THIS WOMAN DOES FOR A LIVING. Do a Bing or Google search on her. She is a SELF APPOINTED, independent "consumer advocate", but she keep all the money she wins in "our name" for herself.
Who pays for her "winning" against the likes of big, greedy?, evil? Wal-Mart over $.02 on one item? That's right!! YOU AND ME. It isn't just the $180 the idiot judge awarded her, it is also all the legal costs, lawyers, time, documents, employee time to testify, etc. Wal-Mart had to pay defending itself. Did Wal-Mart change the price to the correct one when she brought it up at the register? Yes. SO, she did pay $.98 for her item. So she was "injured" how?? Oh, that's right. Don't confuse the liberals with facts, it only makes the angry.
She has sued the same store 5 times, and sued other local stores. If she doesn't like shopping somewhere because she knows they are going to rip her off then she should not be allowed to shop there anymore. If I know one of the bars in town is charging me an extra 2 cents each time they ring my beer up I am simply going to patron a different establishment.
If I were walmart I would settle her next case ( which I can predict is coming soon) with a do not return agreement. Give her $10,000, and save your company the future headaches. Leak the story to the news, and make her the ridicule of her local town.
I bet walmart often overcharges lots of customers, but I have never been denied a price change after I have reviewed my receipt. People causeing a comotion and cutting into a companies profits with frivolous law suits, schemes to get products for free, and stealing, cost every other consumer in price markups.
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