Target to pay $4M fine for overcharging customers

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SAN DIEGO -- Target Corp., which operates 19 stores in San Diego County, will pay nearly $4 million to settle a consumer protection complaint accusing the company of overcharging customers, it was announced Wednesday.

The complaint accused the retail chain of charging higher prices at their cash-register scanners that were posted in the aisles and misrepresenting the weight of its own packaged food items.

The complaint was filed by the San Diego City Attorney's Office in conjunction with the District Attorney offices in Contra Costa, Sonoma, Marin, Santa Cruz and Fresno counties. The Marin County District Attorney's Office was the lead agency.

“Consumers should be able to trust that the price they see posted in the aisle will be the price charged at the register,'' said San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith. “This collaboration with district attorneys throughout the state is a big win for consumer protection, as it will bring Target into compliance with the law and protect the public from future overcharging.''

Because it would be too difficult to track down each customer after the fact, money from the settlement will go toward funding for future investigations instead of customers.

“Back to the different agencies that investigate, here in San Diego County its weights and measures as well as the different prosecuting offices," said Kathryn Turner with the City Attorney's Office.

Under the settlement, in which Target admitted no wrongdoing, the company will pay more than $3.3 million in penalties, reimburse the investigating agencies $388,618 in costs and pay $200,000 in restitution to consumers. Additionally, Target agreed to implement new compliance procedures to help ensure price accuracy.

The settlement follows an investigation by county Weights and Measures departments in all six counties that found hundreds of violations, including leaving inaccurate expired sale prices on items and then charging more for the item at the register, according to the lawsuit.

Target was also accused of failing to comply with the terms of an injunction issued against the company pursuant to a 2008 stipulated judgment.

Under the terms of the latest settlement, Target agreed to implement additional price accuracy procedures in its California stores, including weekly price audits. Target will designate personnel to walk the entire store weekly to make sure that expired sales tags are removed from shelves.

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  • Paul

    ARGGHHHH Should be 3.3 Million to the customers and $200K in fines. Looks like each Target customer will get $1.50….

  • Louise Kelly

    Am sure I won’t get any as it has been a long time and they didn’t take any information when I contacted them. How many don’t even know they were cheated.

  • Chelsea

    The last five times I’ve gone to Target I have gone directly to the customer service desk after looking at my receipt. The overcharges have ranged from $1.50-$30 per item. In one visit alone I was overcharged nearly $40. I’m sure I’m not catching all of the smaller price differences. This is getting ridiculous!

  • Yalonda

    I was in the Pflugerville Walmart recently and bought boxes of k-cup coffee that was ringing up $1.00 more than the price indicated on the shelf. I brought it to the attention of the person in charge that day, and after using his hand scanner, confirmed that the price on the shelf was incorrect and indicated he would have it changed immediately. I went back into the store a few days later to buy the same coffee and the shelf price had not been changed and was still ringing up $1.00 more. I had to bring it to the attention of representative outside of that store to get the price corrected on the shelf. Is this becoming a common trend? Do we as consumers need to keep track of the shelf prices to avoid being overcharged at the register? I wonder.

  • Dan januchowski

    This is still happening here at Target in new york… my Co worker was just talking about being overcharged for a blender she just purchased…it said it was on sale but she was charged the full amount other than what the price tag said… she tried to get her money back but the customer service rep said they couldn’t refund her money..but they could give her $5 for her inconvenience. So basically targets across the US are probably overcharging all of its customers despite the lawsuit based in California.

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