Jewel Overcharging Customers For ‘Fav 4’ Special

CHICAGO (CBS) — You might have thought a popular deal at Chicago’s biggest grocery store chain was saving you a lot of money, but a CBS 2 investigation found that Jewel has been overcharging customers for the special.

CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports that city officials were taking action after it was revealed that some Jewel stores have been charging more than advertised on their “Fav 4” specials on fresh meat.

It’s a catchy advertisement offering four packages of meat and seafood for $19.99.

“I think if a store advertises a special then they should stand behind the special,” customer Chris Kosckinski said.

She claims Jewel stores have not been standing behind the “Fav 4” special.

She said that, at least three times in the last few months, she bought the “Fav 4” meat special at her local Jewel in Fox Lake. Each time she expected to pay $19.99.

“I was overcharged,” she said. “I was shorted 70 something cents.”

When CBS 2 purchased the “Fav 4” special at several Jewel stores in Chicago and the suburbs, Jewel also overcharged four times.

The largest overcharges happened at the Jewel store at Ashland and Roosevelt in Chicago. CBS 2 purchased only the meat listed on the ad.

It added up to $25.63 and The computer deducted $4.10, meaning before tax, Jewel charged $21.53, not $19.99. That’s a $1.54 overcharge.

Another time the four packages add up to $27.15. Once again, the computer only deducted $4.10, for a total of $23.05. That’s an overcharge of $3.06.

When CBS 2 questioned store employees, they said that no matter how much meat was purchased under the “Fav 4” special, the computer would only deduct $4.10, even if that meant being charged more than the $19.99 advertised price.

“If this is happening to a couple of different people I’m going to assume it’s happening to quite a few people,” Kosckinski said.

Jewel has 177 stores in the Chicagoland area and has been offering its “Fav 4” deal for at least two years.

“Certainly an overcharge is a violation of city ordinance,” Chicago Consumer Protection Commissioner Norma Reyes said.

Because of CBS 2’s findings, the city has directed Jewel to stop overcharging its customers and to change its advertisement.

The store issued a statement saying it would change future ads for the “Fav 4” specials to include more detailed information about pricing for products to qualify for the promotion.

The Illinois Attorney General’s office also investigated this issue and got the same response from Jewel that CBS 2 did.

The company said it is willing to reimburse customers who feel they deserve money back, but customers must have their receipt.

  • Jim

    I worked for Jewel for many years. They used to have people whose job it was to check prices against shelf tags and do corrections in the computer. They also used to have Regional managers who came in and made sure the meat was fresh, the shelves were stocked correctly and so on. Then the cutbacks started when the big box stores like Cub came to town. The company, who changed their emphasis from customer service and quality to “the bottom line”, sent panic waves through the employees to take pay cuts and they started cutting out some key positions that enhanced quality. This wasn’t just Jewel, it was Dominicks as well. So now, you have Chicago companies that are no longer owned by Chicago people. You have revolving door employees, where you used to have to KNOW someone to get a job at Jewel, and the whole thing is spiraling out of control. It’s too bad. Jewel was a great company to work for. But when you start relying on “outside professionals” with Harvard business degrees to tell you how to sell your product, you sign a death warrant that will kill you with a thousand, self-imposed, cuts. They need a real, down to earth customer to show them where they are messing up. But it won’t happen.

    • Wake up

      Jewel was bought by SuperValu, Inc., the owners of Cub Foods. I’ve been following that since it happened.

      At first SuperValu sent out newspaper reports that Chicagoland Jewel would “turn into” Cub Foods including bringing in Cub Foods brands like Kemp’s dairy, etc., along with Cub Foods lower prices.

      Cub Foods closed all its stores in Chicago to have Jewel take their place.

      That never happened. I don’t know why. I loved Cub Foods, I knew all the employees, they were the greatest!

      Can I guess that SuperValu saw how well Jewel was doing and people were still shopping along with Jewel’s outrageous prices, SuperValu decided to keep Jewel like it was?

      I visit Jewel 1 time a month to pick up my prescriptions from Osco. On Saturday afternoon, maybe 1-2 pm and the place is EMPTY. I leave Jewel/Osco with my prescriptions and go to Food-4-Less, or Tony’s, or Shop-N-Save.

      Why pay $2.39 for a dozen eggs at Jewel when you can get a dozen eggs for 88 cents somewhere else?

      • Wake up

        Hate to “reply” to my own message but I made a mistake earlier–in a rush/bad proofreading.

        I wrote that SuperValu “promised” to turn Jewel into a new Cub Foods with Cub Foods lower prices and Cub Foods products. Unfortunately, that never happened.

      • Charlotte

        I love Jewel. Just one week ago, I got 18 cans of Hunts Diced tomatoes for $2. Total. To me, that’s a good deal any day of the week! :o) Though I shop at Food 4 Less too, they can never match some of the awesome deals that Jewel has. You just have to learn to use coupons and match the deals up.

        Trust me, learn to shop, and Jewel, Dominicks and Meijer really aren’t that expensive to shop, especially compared to stores like Aldi and Food 4 Less.

      • after work

        I reluctantly go to Jewel just for the deals and only when I have coupons to take more money off the Jewel deals. That is all I will buy. Nothing else. What I really love is the empty lines! No waiting!

  • Mike Finnerty

    1) I’m not at all surprised at Jim’s post. I’ve heard numerous horror stories from employees of both Dominicks and Jewel about bad treatment of employees..
    2) The news story doesn’t surprise me either. Jewel (and Dominicks) overcharge a LOT. I find Dominick’s radio commercial with the slogan”What you want ,when you want it,at a price you need.” Missleading and down right insulting.

  • Brent

    Jewel overcharges for a lot more than the favorite 4. You have to watch your transactions like a hawk. Especially since they change their registers so often. The new ones fly by and do the deductions at the end.
    I try my best not to shop at Jewel because of this, their high prices overall, the fact that their meat and produce spoil so quickly, and their employees lousy attitudes. I’m certIain that the employees are treated at least as bad as their customers so I can’t blame them.
    I stick with Trader Joes, Aldi, and Strack and Van Tils.

  • Drew

    You definitely have to watch your checking out and receipts. I love to save and it’s important I am getting the best deal…Target and are two of my favorite go to sites to shop at. Both have AWESOME coupons and crazy good deals!

  • wiseguy

    Thier food stores are a real rip-off yet people still flock to them and seems they love to get ripped. Overvpriced items by the ton and their meat is way over priced. The meat has no small portions only large chunks that makes it hard for a single person. I refuse to by a roast beef that serves 3 when I am by myself. I go to the area Mexican stores and for $50 I walk out with 2 shopping bags full. Everything is 1/2 the price. Don`t knock it til you try it and see the difference. You will be very surprised.

  • Goodforthegoose

    If you find as I have on several occasions the price on an item is incorrect and your being charges a highter price and you inform the service desk, they will give you that item for free.
    Your expectation is that once they’ve been informed that price on an item is being displayed on the checkout as higher than it should be, that the ierror is immediately corrected.
    From my experience, you can go back the next day or later and find that nothing has been doen to corect the overchage.
    Once the store has been made aware of the overcharge but continues to allow the item to be sold for a period of time at the higher price, is that noy theft.
    If you shoplift from them the police will be called and you’ll be charged,but if they drag their feet to make corrections once they’ve been notified, isn’t that the same thing as theft?

  • Guinypig

    I experienced a similar degradation in service when a store I worked at in Norther Michigan changed. What set them apart was their higher quality and excellent customer service. In order to “save monday”, the eliminated their meat cutters, eliminated the baggers, and tried to be a big box store. They lost all of their customers and the store ended up going out of business. Just proof that just becuase it’s the lowest price, doesn’t mean it’s the best

  • Ripped off no more

    Jewel overcharges on everything – Oscar Meyer Liver Sausage used to be $3.29. We’re talking SMALL liversausage. Now it’s $3.59. Same product. Target charges $1.99. Asked Jewel if they price match other stores, they said no. Good bye Jewel….

  • Bill

    I hate Jewel

  • Brent

    Another thing that really infuriates me is what Goodforthegoose referred to
    The reality that even after being informed of their ERROR, or deception (as in the 4 meat deal), the store does not immediately correct the situation. Yes I too, feel that THEFT is occuring. And yes, they would detain and have you arrested for shoplifting.
    Now the excuse of “making an error” and having a policy addressing the item being free is really convenient for them. If I were to err and put a bag of dried porcini mushrooms in my pocket when grabbing for my shopping list, would they accept my apology and payment? Which is almost the same thing, but in reverse, of course not.
    My vision is OK, I’m good at math, and I KNOW what the prices are when I go to check out. I ask the cashier to not start scanning until I empty my cart and can watch the prices.
    So when I find an error, and get the item free fine, but I am acutely aware that the likelihood of the elderly, the visually or mentally impaired, or the illiterate most likely will be ripped off. How about non English speakers and the mom watching her kids? Often those most in need of a fair price aren’t getting it. Kist knowing that there will be people behind me in line, or at another cashier, or the customers just putting the same item in their carts. How much money is being STOLEN because of incorrect pricing?
    Now for the Jewel to admit their scam of the $4.10 max deduction, after being “instructed” by the state to change this practice is too little too late. Will they be fined? And offering a refund if you present a receipt (and this Fav 4 is 2 years old) is laughable. Who has more than a couple grocery receipts? Isn’t this just asking for a class action law suit?
    In the meantime, let everyone you know to stop shopping at Jewel. And a good old fashioned sign carrying demonstration surrounding the stores, letting people know that they are supporting a horrible corporate greed is on order.
    This will be interesting, and could easily be the demise of this company.

  • Former Meatcutter

    If not mistaken,these charges against Jewel is criminal and they should be prosecuted or fined heavily,I worked for them for forty years this is a state law of deceptive practices.

    • Darlene

      They can be fined up the ying-yang and would pass along the cost(s) of the fine to the customers. It’s disgusting what Jewel has turned into. No wonder the Jewel stores are empty.

  • mattwilcz

    my grandmother worked at Jewel for 40+ yrs and retired from there with a real good pension. it used to be a class act, with friendly people who knew you by name and would always help you find the best deal. these days, not so much. I will still go every now and then when they have the BYGO specials, but i can save A LOT more money going elsewhere. it’s a shame too. just another example of corporate greed ruining an American institution.

  • Former Meatcutter

    These are all the mister know-it-all managers from the top down,they couldn’t run a one car funeral.

  • dragonwych

    Then again, some of you could have actually researched the facts, instead of assuming that this article has them all. Based on the article and the comments, all the folks who purchased smaller packages of meat and got the $4.10 discount, ending up paying far less than $19.99, should go to Jewel and pay them the difference. An awful lot of people seemed to know that the deal was really a $4.10 discount, even if the ad was poorly worded (the part the author above let us see). No, I don’t work for Jewel. I don’t much care for shopping there, either. But please do some homework before you spout off. You know that the newsies only like bad news, and hide the good news, don’t you?

    • Charlotte

      Couponers in the Chicago-land area know this… and know how to get really good prices on the meat, thanks to the $4.10 discount ;o)

  • Consumer

    I can’t believe this was the second story after the weather on the 5 o’clock news tonight. CBS, if you were so concerned about getting the word out to consumers, why did this story first air today instead of weeks ago when you filmed the segment? Jewel hasn’t had a Fav 4 deal in weeks. You would think that such breaking news would have been made available immediately instead of sitting on it for weeks!

  • Maureen

    After 8 years of working at Jewel, I quit for many reasons. I worked nights because I worked days at another job that paid a lot more than I was making at Jewel.
    I quit because I was doing the job of 5 people from 8 pm-11 pm and was making minimal pay, even after 8 years. There were not enough people scheduled at night.
    I had a hard time getting even my minimum hours of 15 each week.

  • southpaw

    I have had this happen to me and when I went to the sservice desk I was told its because the meat weighed more then the offer and I had to pay the difference. I argued the fact and they refunded my money. Super value in WI has the same office but its fav 5 and you get your choice of 5 for 20 .00 all you pay is 20.00 not the weight on the packages. why cant they run it the same way at Jewel . I now longer by this so called special but I do shop in WI and ther is no tax on food either.

  • Jeannie

    I remember Cub Foods when they were in Chicago! What a great store and prices! I can’t believe they have turned Jewel into the horror that it is.

    If anybody reading this story is from Minnesota, are the Cub Foods still run as well as they were in Chicago? I would hate to see Cub Foods go to hell like Jewel has.

  • gannon

    I think Jewel’s buy one get one free is a joke. I went for the Chicken and 1 Chicken was 14.00> They just up the charge on the 1st one so it’s no delal. Wrote to Jewel but that did not change anything they still do it. Have to really watch you prices at Jewel. They are way to expensive. If I go for the sale items I always end up spending way more then if I went to another store in the area.

  • chgogal

    If the customer does not have the receipt , have the ol’ Preferred Card marketing scam look it up!

  • Kelly Gilbert

    The only thing I ever purchase at a Jewel is a loss leader item. And most of the time there isn’t anything advertised that interests me. I stopped shopping there when they started making their cashiers harass the customers at checkout with the deal of the day.

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