Two National Dollar Store Chains Under Investigation For Grossly Overcharging Consumers

Dollar General and Family Dollar are both facing legal action in Ohio after an audit revealed that the stores overcharge customers by up to 88%.

By Jennifer Hollohan | Published

Who doesn’t love a good deal? While many shoppers already appreciated the rock-bottom prices at dollar store chains, others recently discovered them, boosting the chains’ sales. But with the news that Dollar General and Family Dollar are both in hot water and may face legal action, will their businesses suffer?

With the cost of goods rising ever higher, thanks to inflation, many shoppers are doing whatever they can to find a bargain. And that includes turning to stores they may have previously shied away from. Some of the newly visited stores included locations like Family Dollar and Dollar General.

Customers feel they are getting screaming deals. And, often, that is the case. Unfortunately, in some states, they may be paying more than they expected.

Recently, auditors from Butler County’s Division of Weights and Measures visited the discount chains. What they found was shocking. Register audits showed drastic differences between the prices on the shelves and what customers got charged at the point of sale. 

Most of the time, those errors were in the store’s favor. The county allows for a 2% margin of error during its audit process. However, Family Dollar and Dollar General both had significantly higher error rates.

Roger Reynolds performed his investigation of Dollar General in October. According to the publication, BestLife, Reynolds found error rates ranging from 16.7 to 88.2%. That was serious enough to make the Attorney General, Dave Yost, stand up and take notice.

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Yost stated in a press release that, “everything we buy these days costs more—Ohioans can ill-afford businesses that draw people in with the promise of low prices only to deceive them at the checkout counter. This seems like a company trying to make an extra buck and hoping no one will notice. We’ve not only noticed but are taking action to stop it.”

The Attorney General’s office noted eight additional Ohio counties with similar audit results. They have filed a lawsuit claiming Dollar General violated Ohio’s Consumer Sales Practices Act. So, “the state is asking the company to pay damages to consumers along with $25,000 in civil fines for each violation.”

But Dollar General is not the only discount store in trouble with Butler County. Auditors also recently performed inspections of local Family Dollar stores. And they uncovered similar error rates, which is bad news for the chain’s customers.

Audits at 13 locations around Butler County showed “error rates between 12 and 84 percent.” However, unlike Dollar General, Family Dollar had some price discrepancies that favored the customer. Reynolds said, “We will continue to alert the public when we uncover rampant abuse like this.”

Unfortunately, Ohio is not alone in its price discrepancy woes. Similar problems arose in North Carolina earlier this year. There, “Several Dollar General and Family Dollar stores were fined by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services in April and again in August after “excessive price-scanner errors” were detected.”

Officials in both states want customers to be aware of the possibility of being overcharged at Dollar General and Family Dollar. But that news may not be enough to warn you away from shopping at your nearest discount store. So, if you continue to visit them, pay close attention to how much they charge you, so you don’t spend more than you should.