Price Mismatch: A News Center 7 I-Team Investigation

DAYTON — Corporate giant Dollar General has been under fire for months in Ohio for the prices on their shelves not matching up to the process customers see at the checkout counter.

News Center 7′s Mike Campbell has covered this story and the investigations for months. He is digging into the latest inspections of stories in Montgomery County and speaking with customers and former employees about the on-going issues.

Campbell’s reporting had the Montgomery County Auditor, Karl Keith, doing more inspection, even earlier than usual at all Dollar General stores.

Keith is responsible for 31 Dollar General stores. A half-dozen of those 31 stories still haven’t passed their price-check inspection.

“The rest have all come back into live and been able to pass inspection,” Keith said.

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News Center 7 went undercover inside a Dollar General store near the end of 2022. We found six out of eight items purchased had different prices at the register than what was reported on the shelf.

Inspection paperwork that was requested and obtained by News Center 7 from the auditor’s office is truly shocking.

Nine out of 31 stores passed on their first inspection, many failing with half of the 50 items checked being wrong at the checkout. Inspectors with the auditor’s office have been going out for months, doing periodic, unscheduled re-checks. Six stores still haven’t passed with four of them failing a fourth round of inspections.

News Center 7 pulled the failed third inspection for the store located in the 2300 block of North Main Street. The report showed 21 of the 50 items failed price match, ringing higher at the register.

The detailed report on those 21 items showed a customer buying them would have paid $16.40 more than they expected too.

Chelsea Smith, who is a former employee at Dollar General, said “I think it’s total bull-crap. Pardon my French, that’s totally wrong.”

Smith said she lives paycheck to paycheck and can’t afford to overpay because of incorrect pricing.

“Before, they thought the customer would not notice, now more people are opening their eyes and speaking out,” Smith said.

She has a lot to speak out because she worked for Dollar General for several months.

“Not only would we do the cash register, but we would stock shelves and cleanup up at the end of the day. I think it’s crazy,” Smith said.

Smith said low staffing means updating the hundreds of weekly price changes, which are downloaded b y computer, is a low priority.

“When I worked, they don’t want to train. I hate to say it, they didn’t train me well,” she said.

“I don’t think it’s deliberate on the part of the stories, that they are deliberately trying to deceive people. It’s a staffing issue,” Keith said.

Keith believes the pressure his inspectors are putting on stories, plus the pressure of negative publicity is having an impact. He doesn’t want to refer stores to possible large fines from state oversight officials.

He also doesn’t want to put warning stickers at store checkout counters like the Franklin County auditor did for the Columbus-area stores.

“Double-check your receipts before leaving the store. If it’s not right, tell them,” Smith said.

Because the company hasn’t responded to our repeated attempts to reach out to them for comments, we can’t tell you exactly how they plan to resolve the problem.

What we can tell is they certainly have a lot more eyes on them from Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost to reporters doing stories to their own customers.

Yost just recently announced an agreement with Dollar General that will avoid a restraining order he asked for after suing the company in Butler County.

The agreement calls for increased employee education and training, plus stores being required to post signs of informing customers that their policy is to have the prices match and override to the lowest prices if there is a discrepancy.

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