For Immediate ReleaseFebruary 10, 2015
San Rafael, CA – Marin County District Attorney Edward S. Berberian announced today that Target Corporation ("Target"), the second largest discount retailer in the U.S. with over 250 stores in California, has agreed to settle a civil law enforcement action alleging Target violated California false advertising and unfair competition laws and also violated a prior 2008 injunction. The action was filed in Marin County Superior Court, case number CIV1500474, by Berberian'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. Deputy District Attorney Andy Perez prosecuted the case for the Marin County D.A.'s Consumer Protection Unit. The Judgment was signed on February 9, 2015 by Marin Superior Court Judge Paul M. Haakenson.
The Complaint filed by the District Attorneys alleges that since as early as December 2008 Target unlawfully charged consumers prices higher than Target's lowest advertised price, made statements that misrepresented the weight of Target-branded products, sold commodities by gross weight and sold commodities in less quantity than represented.
The Complaint further alleges that Target failed to abide by the injunctive provisions of a 2008 Judgment filed in Contra Costa County by the same District Attorney offices prohibiting Target from using any type of scanning system, such as are used at checkout stands, at Target stores in California unless Target maintained a compliance program to enhance pricing accuracy and correct pricing errors.
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 at all California stores including, but not limited to: 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.
The Final Judgment orders Target to pay $3,941,118 in civil penalties, investigative costs and restitution.
District Attorney Berberian stated, "Our consumer protection unit continues to protect the rights of consumers and educate them on consumer protection laws. 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."
Ed BerberianDistrict AttorneyCounty of Marin
Marin County Civic Center3501 Civic Center DriveSan Rafael, CA 94903(415) 473-6450