Consumer Fairness

Fair and Transparent Pricing

Walgreens shoppers could be paying too much depending on which location of the chain they choose, with stores in the same market offering the same products for up to 55 percent more.  A study released by the National Consumers League and Change to Win Retail Initiatives of several markets throughout the country finds that price variation across Walgreens locations was up to five times higher than at Rite Aid and two-and-a-half times higher than CVS.

Click for full image.

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Key findings for all markets surveyed include:

    • Walgreens prices were all over the map.  Walgreens stores in a single market were up to five times more likely than a competitor to charge different prices for the same item.  This price variation was not limited to one or two items; researchers encountered storewide price differences at Walgreens at a rate several times higher than the other chains in most markets.
    • Price differences at Walgreens often meant consumers were paying more.  In every market surveyed, Walgreens had the greatest percentage of products that cost at least 10 percent more than the market’s lowest price.
    • Walgreens had the biggest price differences between its stores.  In all markets surveyed, Walgreens had twice the number of products with a 20 percent or greater price range than did CVS.  Rite Aid had virtually no products with that big of a gap.  Walgreens also had significantly more items with a price range of a dollar or greater.

The study includes several tips for how shoppers can get the best price at drugstore chains. Tips include avoiding Walgreens flagship stores and asking managers about price matching.

Take a look at the results in Dallas-Fort Worth, Los Angeles, New York City and Orange County.


Shoppers Question Balance Rewards’ Value

A nationwide poll of more than 2,000 Walgreens shoppers raises questions about how much value customers are getting from the Balance Rewards loyalty program.  The poll points to problems with the program’s design that could be causing consumer confusion and making shoppers’ experiences less rewarding.

Some key findings from the poll include:

    • Only 16 percent of members believe they have actually saved a significant amount of money with the program. 
    • More than two-thirds of Balance Rewards participants (69 percent) do not feel that it is easy to earn rewards.
    • Three in four members do not feel that the program’s deals are a fit with the items they usually purchase. 

Read more here.


Out-Of-Stock and Mislabled Sale Items

Walgreens is having trouble keeping advertised specials in-stock and clearly labeled, and these problems could be undermining its new customer loyalty program Balance Rewards, according to a new report titled Off Balance: Out-of-Stock and Mislabeled Sale Items at Walgreens. The report documents problems that we think are causing Walgreens customers to leave the chain’s stores feeling inconvenienced, disappointed and less-than-rewarded.

Some key findings are:

      • Certain promotions were consistently out of stock across markets. 

Well-stocked shelves and clearly marked sales are fundamental to building customer loyalty. To learn more about the problems found in the report, read the full findings here and see what Walgreens shoppers are saying below.