Checking Your Receipt Can Get You Freebies


**Pulling this article from the archives, but it is just as applicable as it was then, so thought you might find it helpful.**

After your done checking out your groceries do you automatically stuff the receipt in your purse or bag? Well after reading this you may not, and instead take a moment and look at it. ` I ended up getting a 6 pack of paper towel FREE yesterday by just doing this.

As a coupon shopper, I pretty much know the exact sales price of everything I am buying (most of the time it’s listed on my shopping list.) In an ideal world, I would be able to watch the scanner and correct the price as the cashier rings up the items. However there are 2 reasons I don’t always do this:

  1. I have 4 kids to watch, and am also busy putting the items on the belt.
  2. If you correct the price at the register, you can’t always take advantage of the Bounty Laws or Price Guarantees.

Bounty Law

Until 3 years ago, I lived in Michigan. In Michigan there is a state law called the “Bounty” law. Michigan law protects consumers who use automated scanners at checkouts, regardless of who scans the item. If a merchant charges more than the price marked on the item, the consumer is not only entitled to the difference between the price charged and the price marked, but also a bounty of ten times the difference; not less than one dollar and not more than five dollars.

Let’s say that you are overcharged by twenty five cents on a jar of spaghetti sauce. You would be entitled to the twenty five cents, as well as a bounty of two dollars and fifty cents.

There are a couple of important rules:

First, the price must be marked on the item. This shouldn’t be a problem since with very few exceptions, Michigan Law requires merchants to mark the prices on all of their items.

Second, the consumer must actually pay for the items for which they had been overcharged. If the consumer does not pay for the item, the consumer was not actually overcharged by the merchant. That means that even if you see an item has been scanned at the wrong price, stopping the cashier and correcting the price is the wrong thing to do because you won’t receive the bounty.

Price Guarantees

I was very disappointed when I moved to Pennsylvania, and found out that they didn’t have a Bounty Law. However, I have found that Giant Eagle (where I do most of my grocery shopping) has an Accu-Scan Price Guarantee that basically states if an item is ringing up other than advertised, the first item is free and the remaining identical items are rung up at the expected advertised price.

This is how I got the paper towel I mentioned at the start for free. As I was leaving the store, I was checking my receipt and noticed that the paper towel had rung up at $7.39, even though the sign said $6.99. So I went back into Customer Service and mentioned that I thought I had been overcharged because there was a sign that said $6.99. I walked with the customer service worker to the sign and he agreed that I was right and without me having to say anything else he gave me a full rebate.

I have done some searching and found some other stores that have Price Guarantees. You can get the specifics for the store by clicking on them.

  • Aldi
  • Wegman’s,
  • Publix` – This link is not directly from the store
  • Safeway` – This link is not directly from the store so it may have changed.
  • Weis
  • Kroger – Not directly from store

I’m sure I missed some of the stores that have price guarantees. If you know of any more it would be great if you left them in the comments.

So every time you leave a store, make sure to check that receipt. You might just end up getting something for free or even make money.

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  1. I always do this at Krogers – they have the same policy as Giant Eagle that you will get the first item free and the overage from any other items if anything doesn't ring up correctly. I was in Target last week and had 4 coupons for $1.10 that rang up as .85 each! So they gave me the $1.25 in cash. Always check your receipts for item prices and coupon amounts!!


  1. […] This does not apply to milk and liquor, but I can tell you I have taken advantage of the policy quite frequently.  Definitely a reason why it’s important to check your receipt. […]

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