Target Settles Lawsuit Alleging That It Charged Higher Prices Than Advertised

Target Settles Lawsuit Alleging That It Charged Higher Prices Than Advertised
Image: Target
February 11, 2015

Target has agreed to pay a $3.9 million fine to settle a lawsuit filed in Marin County, California which alleges that it charged customers higher prices than it advertised.

The lawsuit also alleges that Target made statements that misrepresented the weight of Target-branded products, sold commodities in less quantity than represented, and failed to ensure that price scanners at checkout stands were accurate.

The lawsuit was filed in Marin County Superior Court by the Marin County District Attorney's Consumer Protection Unit along with the District Attorneys of Contra Costa, Fresno, Santa Cruz, and Sonoma Counties and the San Diego City Attorney's Office.

Under the settlement, Target agrees to be bound by a permanent injunction prohibiting them from: making any false or misleading statements in regards to their advertised prices; charging an amount greater than the lowest advertised price; and selling commodities by gross weight and in less quantity than represented.

Target has also agreed to take significant measures to increase price accuracy, including: increasing the number and frequency of price accuracy audits conducted in-store; comprehensive training for employees on complying with the price accuracy compliance program set forth in the Judgment; and hiring a third-party auditor to ensure weight accuracy in Target-branded products.

"Our consumer protection unit continues to protect the rights of consumers and educate them on consumer protection laws," Marin County District Attorney Ed Berberian said in statement. "A fundamental consumer right is to be charged no more than the lowest advertised price. Consumers should always notify retailers immediately when they are being overcharged and demand to be charged only the lowest advertised price."

Target spokesman Evan Lapiska said in a statement that some of the pricing problems stemmed from promotional signs not being promptly removed after a promotion ended.

Lapiska said that Target has taken steps to fix that issue, and that any Target guest who feels she or he was overcharged for an item should bring their receipt to the guest service desk, where any pricing inaccuracies will be resolved.