I-Team: Half of Montgomery County Dollar General stores fail price inspections, county auditor says

Ohio Dollar General stores are under fire for price swapping.

News Center 7 reported Wednesday that Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed a lawsuit against the company in Butler County because the county auditor documented price problems at Dollar General stores. In Montgomery County, News Center 7′s I-Team found customers who are raising concerns.

James Luneke, of Riverside, raised some of the first alarms about potential problems at Dollar General stores in Montgomery County. He said his concern was about how many times he, and everyone else in Montgomery County, had been overcharged.

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He told News Center 7′s Mike Campbell that an economy pack of tissue paper raised suspicion. He picked up an item marked $4.75 and the register rang up $9.75.

“I told her there’s a problem here,” Luneke said.

After telling the clerk the price tag, Luneke did get the advertised price, but Yost made it clear he is seeing the same thing across the state.

Montgomery County Auditor Karl Keith said he instructed test teams to start testing the prices at area Dollar General stores after the reports came out about Butler County locations.

Keith said that there are 30 Dollar General locations in Montgomery County. Teams tested 18 of those locations and found that 15 of those locations were overcharging their customers.

The test teams select 50 items and compare prices. To pass, a store should only have one discrepancy out of 50. One store in Kettering, News Center 7 found, had nine items ring up a higher price at the registers.

A store in the 4000 block of Salem Ave in Dayton had 11 items ring up higher at checkout and the store on Main Street in Trotwood had 17 times with a higher price at the register than the shelves.

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Keith isn’t ready to agree with Yost and blames Dollar General for having a systemic problem. He told News Center 7 that larger stores can change priced with computerized systems, but smaller stores have to do things manually and the COVID-19 pandemic has made that much tougher.

“They have new employees, they are short-staffed,” Keith said. “Trying to keep up with price changes is difficult.”

State law requires that the price on the shelves match up with the price at the register. Keith suspects he will continue to find problems in other smaller stores.

“Consumers need to know they can trust that the price they see on the shelves is the price they will pay at the register,” Keith said in a release sent out Friday afternoon. “They expect those prices to be correct, and that’s why we’re out there checking.”

News Center 7 reached out to Dollar General for a comment on the issue on Friday, but have not received a response.