Some cigarette customers were overcharged in price hike at exchange stores
By MATT MILLHAM | STARS AND STRIPES Published: May 7, 2014
The Army and Air Force Exchange Service will give refunds to customers who were overcharged for cigarettes when prices were raised last week at overseas stores.
The exchange raised the prices Thursday on all of the cigarettes it sells by as much as $9.15 a carton. An inaccurate price for Pall Mall cigarettes that had been entered into an exchange computer system resulted in a price jump of $13.70 per carton – a 37.5 percent increase. The increase was supposed to be $7.95 per carton – a 21.8 percent hike.
Exchange spokesman Judd Anstey said the price was corrected the same day.
“Anyone who paid the erroneous price can bring in a receipt and receive a refund for the difference,” Anstey wrote in an email. “The Exchange apologizes for any inconvenience this may have caused.”
The price hikes, Anstey said, resulted from a survey of stateside cigarette prices. According to Defense Department regulations, the exchange is required to set the prices for tobacco products overseas on the basis of stateside averages, Anstey said.
The Defense Department has been under pressure to raise tobacco prices, which is the “single most effective way to reduce smoking,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Prices for some brands sold by AAFES jumped as much as 23.5 percent on May 1, according to data provided by the exchange. On average, cigarette prices leapt $7.10 per carton, according to the exchange’s new data. The largest percent increase — 23.5 percent — was for the Sonoma brand. Newports rose the most in dollar terms, up $9.15 per carton.