By Liz Collin

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There are noticeable changes at Minnesota’s largest drugstore chain after WCCO uncovered pricing problems at stores across the Twin Cities but some customers are now questioning Walgreens in-store savings program.

Two months ago, we showed you how Walgreens overcharged customers by leaving up sale tags too long. The law says the store is supposed to charge customers the advertised price but in most cases, that wasn’t happening.

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WCCO went back to check the same stores and heard from customers with new concerns about the way Walgreens shoppers are supposed to save.

For Cindy Reever, it comes down to convenience. A Walgreens store is just a few blocks from her Eden Prairie home but after Reever signed up for the store’s card, which she assumed would help her save, she’s wondering if it really does.

“If you’re retired and living on a limited income you really have to watch your dollars nowadays,” Reever said.

Look around any Walgreens and you’ll see points attached to a bunch of different products. The Balance Rewards Program allows shoppers to redeem those points for a steeper discount. So, Reever bought four cans of Pringles with the belief she’d earn 1,000 points or a $1 off coupon for her to use on her next trip, but because she cashed in 5,000 points on the same transaction, the store wouldn’t give her that dollar-off coupon. Turns out, if you want to redeem your points at Walgreens, you can’t earn them at the same time, and when Reever shopped on a special Senior Day to get 20 percent off Walgreens brands, she says the store also took away 20 percent of the value of her in-store coupon.

“I noticed that when I had a $10 Walgreens store coupon, they were only giving me credit for $8,” Reever said.

We went shopping at Walgreens stores all across the metro two months ago and discovered a different complaint: sale tags left up too long and when we went to pay we were charged full prices.

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We easily found dozens of items in four different stores with expired sale tags. All together, the mistakes had us paying more than $95 more than we should have been charged.

So, we went back to the same stores and found far fewer problems. In fact, in two stores that two months ago had shelf after shelf with outdated tags, this time didn’t have a single mistake.

In the other two, we did still find a few outdated tags.

A Walgreens spokesperson wouldn’t tell us if the company made changes since CBS Television stations all across the country exposed this problem. But he would only say what the chain did before that, “if a customer believes they were charged incorrectly Walgreens is happy to resolve it.”

It all has Reever paying a lot more attention. After what she considered to be two convenient trips in the last two weeks that had her paying $3 more than she bargained for.

“You’ve just got to watch it and make sure you get the deal that you think you’re going to get,” Reever said.

A spokesperson for Walgreens also told WCCO that there are occasions when an in-store coupon won’t be redeemed in full if it’s used when an item is on sale. But that manufacturer’s coupons used at Walgreens are always redeemed for their full value.

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When it comes to its Balance Rewards Program, Walgreens again says points can’t be earned if a customer wants to redeem their points at the same time.

Liz Collin