Doing things the hard way

The Madison County Record Jul. 31, 2010, 8:22am

If a cashier rings up the wrong price, or the new sale price hasn't been entered into the store computer and the scanner records the old price instead, you draw the cashier's attention to the error.

"Excuse me, but I believe you charged me too much for that item."

The cashier confirms the error, removes the wrong charge, makes the right one. Problem solved. How hard is that?

The same thing applies to check-cashing fees. When you cash a check at a supermarket in Illinois, the fee is supposed to be 50 cents or 1 percent of the check amount, whichever is higher. It costs you a dollar to cash a $100 check, $2 for a $200 check, and so on.

If a clerk charges you $1.25 to cash a $100 check, you say, "Excuse me, but I believe you charged me a quarter too much." If the clerk refuses to correct the error, you speak to the manager. If the manager's uncooperative, you start cashing your checks elsewhere or you report the store to the authorities.

Who would bother to file a lawsuit over a quarter or fifty-cent overcharge?

Mary Voyles of Edwardsville did. She filed a class action suit on behalf of all the "victims" who've been overcharged a quarter or two for check-cashing and not had the gumption to speak up about it.

Mary claims to have been charged $1.25 when cashing a $75 check at the Shop 'n Save in Edwardsville, fifty cents more than she should have been. Why she didn't settle the matter at the time is a mystery. If she had, there would have been no need for her seemingly frivolous lawsuit.

Supervalu, the company that owns Shop 'n Save, has denied wrongdoing but agreed to a settlement in which class members will receive $20 each. Class counsel Thomas Maag and associates will collect $18,000 in fees.

The "victim" gets $20. Maag and his cohorts get $18,000. Let's talk about overcharges.

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