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|Rite Aid Slapped with Fines for Overcharging Customers|
By Lookout Staff
May 31, 2011 – Rite Aid is paying the price for overcharging its Santa Monica customers, thanks to an undercover sting by the City Attorney's Consumer Protection Unit.
After undercover officers were charged more than the lowest price posted for items at one of the corporation's local stores, Rite Aid was slapped with two misdemeanor charges carrying fines totalling more than $6,000, according to a press release issued by the Santa Monica City Attorney's office.
In the past year, the Consumer Protection Unit has also obtained convictions for price violations against three other Santa Monica stores – Michael's, Whole Foods and Banana Republic.
“These convictions send a message to businesses to end what are essentially stealth crimes,” said Deputy City Attorney Gary Rhoades. “These are stealth crimes because the consumer often has no idea of the overpayment.
“These four cases should also remind consumers to always check their receipts,” said Rhoades.
City officials did not specify which Santa Monica Rite Aid store was in violation.
In addition to the fines – the maximum amount for two misdemeanors – the corporation has been put on probation for one year, they said.
The City Attorney's Office is engaged in an ongoing partnership with the Los Angeles County Department of Weights and Measures to enforce consumer protection laws in Santa Monica.
It's against state law for stores to charge more than the lowest posted price shelf items. Each time an outlet overcharges its customers by more than one dollar, it can be slapped a misdemeanor charge carrying a penalty of up a to $3,000 fine.
Stores often neglect to update their temporary sales signs and computer systems with sales prices, leading to this kind of overcharge, city officials say.
“These convictions send a message to businesses to end what are essentially stealth crimes.” Deputy City Attorney Gary Rhoades
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