Thursday, March 22, 2012
A San Diego judge approved a judgment Wednesday ordering retail giant Walmart to pay $2.1 million for overcharging customers in its California stores and for violating a prior 2008 judgment.
San Diego Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Barton signed the modified judgment today, adding $2.1 million to the $1.4 million ordered in 2008.
The fine will be divided up among various agencies, including the San Diego County District Attorney's Office and the San Diego City Attorney's Office.
"Our Consumer Unit worked closely with the (San Diego) City Attorney and California Attorney General to hold Walmart accountable and protect the consumer,'' said San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.
"Law enforcement has a duty to make sure businesses follow the law, compete fairly in the marketplace, and charge the prices they advertise,'' she said.
In 2008, Walmart was ordered to implement measures to ensure that consumers would be charged the currently advertised price at the time of checkout.
Walmart was also ordered to implement and maintain a "Get it Free'' program in its California stores for four years, whereby a consumer who was overcharged at checkout would receive the item for free. Or, if the lowest advertised price was more than $3, the consumer would receive the lowest advertised price less $3.
In addition, Walmart was required to post a sign at every check-out stand informing consumers of the program.
Prosecutors alleged that Walmart failed to comply with the requirements of the 2008 judgment by failing to deduct $3 from the price of an item when there was an overcharge; failing to post signs at every register; and continuing to charge more than the advertised price on some items.
Today, Walmart agreed to resolve the allegations without admitting any violation, but by paying an additional $2.1 million and extending the "Get it Free'' program another year.