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Illegal Shelf Prices in Lebanese Supermarkets

I was in TSC Signature (Beirut Souks) this week. If you don't know already, I'm a tea addict and I like to go to that branch because they have different types of tea not available anywhere else.

In the tea section, there was a whole column for premium Lipton tea (not the regular yellow box ones). All of the Lipton premium teas were at priced 6490LL so I decided to buy the Vanilla Caramel Truffle one (among other things). I made sure that the price is correct and that the shelf label is correct and that it matched the item that I bought.

I paid at the cashier and just before leaving I checked the receipt and saw that I was charged more for that item (7990LL to be exact, that's $1.00 more). I went back to check with the manager and told him that the pricing is not right.

He went to the stand to check the label. After acting puzzled and confused, he tells me that this label is for a different product. Does he really think I'm that stupid? I gave him a mean look and told him "No, read the label, it's exactly the same as the product". He checks the barcode and admits that it is indeed the same product. Then he asked me if I wanted to return the product without any further explanation. He didn't even apologize for the mistake or offer to check if the system pricing is wrong (if I was indeed over-charged).

This is not the first time I encounter wrong shelf prices at Lebanese supermarkets. It always occurs at big supermarkets such as Spinneys, COOP and TSC. Usually the differences are small (like 100LL or 150LL); so I don't bother complaining. But I'm pretty sure that either way, it is illegal to play with the shelving prices. Small or big differences add up which result in illegal profits.

Don't even get me started about the price discrepancies between supermarkets. Do I really have to go to 5 different ones to get all the products that I need? For example, you can buy a Campbell soup can from TSC for under 2000LL while at COOP its 3500LL!

Personally, I don't have time to report every incident that I encounter to Consumer Protection. Isn't it their job to check big supermarkets for scams like this? It just pisses me off that I have to be extra careful when shopping for the simplest things.


  1. Funny thing Mohammad that you posted this today. Yesterday, my girlfriend wanted to buy something at H&M were they were doing their internationally-known "3 for 2" deal. She noticed that the sales rep at the counter scanned 3 of the items, and then when she gave her the receipt, noticed that she was indeed charged for 3 items instead of 2. Then what happened was that she looked at the sales rep and called her out on it. When the sales rep didn't know what to say, she actually said that she doesn't know what it means and of course, did not honor the 3 for 2 deal. It was so confusing and made non sense at all. Plus it really upset my girlfriend. It's not about the money per se, it's about the integrity and about consumer/supplier honesty

  2. @Ogie "3 for 2" I'm pretty sure it's get 3 and the 4th is for free. It's also on the system directly, so for every four makeup things the cheapest one is for free. Did this happen in the Hamra branch? Because they tend to be ruder and more clueless than the other branches. The one in Kaslik has better customer service.

  3. Hey Mohammad, I've encountered similar incidents at some supermarkets, namely TSC. And it happens pretty frequently, around once a month.
    Things as simple as candy bars that are normally priced at 990 LL often register for 2450 LL at the counter (and the shelf says they're 990 LL).
    And the customer service is horrible; supposedly the cashiers don't have the authority to override the prices, so you have to go to customer service and the procedure takes a much longer time, so I often end up not buying those products because it's just not worth it.

    I think this might be tied to the corruption of Lebanese. I lived in Kuwait for a year, and I never encountered such an incident at TSC (TSC is a Kuwaiti franchise).

  4. I never expected this to happen at supermarkets such as TSC. But at least now I know where to buy my tea from :P I hope they have Chinese green tea.

  5. Dear All, same thing happened to be with same barcode displaying separate prices for the same items. Either the merchandising manager if he/she does exist does this deliberately to steal the difference. Or the big boss (m3alim) needs to be fired ASAP!


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