Target will pay $5 million in civil fines to settle a lawsuit that alleged the retail giant overcharged customers and misled them about prices displayed on its mobile app.
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According to a press release from the Sonoma County Attorney’s Office on Thursday, District Attorney Jill Ravitch said Target will pay $5,372,681 to settle a civil complaint alleging the store engaged in false advertising and unfair competition.
“We are committed to prosecuting price accuracy violations and ensuring that companies bill customers accurately and in accordance with California law,” Ravitch said in a statement. “Consumers should always look at scanned items at checkout and check receipts to verify that they are being charged the lowest advertised or displayed price for the items.”
The district attorney’s office, along with prosecutors from Alameda, Marin, Contra Costa, Santa Cruz, Ventura, and San Diego, accused Target of duping customers into paying more than the price announced the store’s lowest, reported The Sacramento Bee. Prosecutors also accused the company of raising the prices of certain items in Target’s mobile app when a shopper walked into the store, according to the news release.
Prosecutors also alleged that if an item was priced differently on the app and in the store, customers weren’t told where they could purchase it for the advertised amount, The Bee reported.
“With this latest lawsuit, we continue to protect consumers and their hard-earned money, while ensuring Target is held accountable when it breaks the law,” San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said in a statement. a statement, according to KABC-TV.
Target will have to implement price accuracy and auditing procedures in its California stores for a period of seven years to “ensure compliance with price accuracy requirements,” according to the Sonoma County press release.
Target will have to pay $5 million in civil penalties, $200,000 in restitution “cy pres” — meaning “as close as possible” — to support future enforcement of consumer protection laws, the statement said. Target must also pay $173,618.81 in fees to several California county agriculture departments that conducted the investigation.
Minneapolis-based Target, which cooperated during the investigation, has since implemented new policies and procedures to improve pricing accuracy, the statement said.
“We have taken steps to improve our processes because the majority of these issues occurred when promotional signs were not removed immediately after a promotion ended,” said Target spokesman Brian Harper. -Tibaldo, in a press release. “If customers have questions, they can bring their receipt to the customer service desk to discuss a price adjustment.”
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