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Target & Safeway Accused of Overcharging Customers For Groceries

Price inspection reports say that multiple stores overcharged consumers in 2023 and 2024.
FACT CHECKED BY Justine Goodman

For years now, persistent inflation for staple food items like olive oil and beef has been forcing Americans to hand over more and more of their hard-earned dollars at the grocery store. However, consumers in one part of the United States may be seeing especially high grocery bills due to alleged overcharging at two major grocery chains.

Multiple Target and Safeway locations in California's Bay Area have been accused of making customers overpay for basic food, drink, and personal care items in 2023 and 2024. SFGate, which obtained price inspection reports from the Marin County Department of Agriculture, Weights, and Measures, was the first to report on the alleged overcharging.

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Safeway exterior
Photo: jejim / Shutterstock

According to the publication, one Safeway store on 900 Diablo Ave. in Novato charged customers an extra dollar for products like soap, instant coffee, and Oreos. Meanwhile, a Target store at 200 Vintage Way in Novato reportedly overcharged shoppers for items such as cocktail mixers and containers that were not eligible for California Redemption Value (a fee that consumers pay when purchasing certain recyclable beverage containers, which can be refunded when shoppers bring the containers to recycling centers).

The Novato Target did not pass multiple reinspection attempts, SFGate reported, citing the price inspection reports.

Small overcharges may not seem like that big of a deal at face value. However, those extra costs could add up at a time when food prices are already 1% higher than they were a year ago, according to the latest Consumer Price Index report. Additionally, recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that shoppers in the Bay Area have already been paying thousands more for food annually than the rest of the country on average in recent years.

It's also important to note that this isn't the first time that Target and Safeway have come under scrutiny for jacking up prices. In fact, both retailers have paid settlements or penalties in the past following accusations that they overcharged customers in some parts of the country, SFGate reported.

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Representatives for Target and Safeway did not immediately respond to our queries for comment on the latest overcharging reports.

The two retailers aren't the only grocery chains that have recently been in the news for allegedly charging customers more than they were supposed to. Walmart is currently paying $45 million to settle a class-action lawsuit that accused the company of overcharging shoppers for certain weighted groceries. Qualifying consumers have until June 5 to file a claim, and can receive up to $500 from the settlement. More details on who is eligible to receive funds and how to apply are available on the Top Class Actions website.

Zoe Strozewski
Zoe Strozewski is a News Writer for Eat This, Not That! A Chicago native who now lives in New Jersey, she graduated from Kean University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Read more about Zoe