Dollar General Reaches $1.75M Deal Over Pricing

Advertising Law

Pricing problems will cost Dollar General $1.75 million in a settlement with the Vermont attorney general.

The national retailer ran afoul of the state’s Consumer Protection Act by selling products that were advertised on the shelf at a lower price but rung up for a higher amount at the register, Attorney General T.J. Donovan asserted.

Since 2013, inspectors with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets found 362 overcharge errors at 22 different Dollar General stores in the state, the AG said. Of those errors, the register price exceeded the shelf price in amounts ranging from $0.02 to $6 per item, with a median overcharge amount of $0.35.

Despite being informed “at least 50 times” by inspectors to correct the problem, the pricing inaccuracies continued.

The agreement includes both monetary relief—$1.65 million in civil penalties paid to the state plus a $100,000 cy pres payment to the Vermont Foodbank—and injunctive relief.

Pursuant to the Assurance of Discontinuance, Dollar General will adopt a set of pricing accuracy policies and procedures to ensure compliance with state law, provide pricing training to all employees with pricing responsibilities, and conduct internal audits for a three-year period so that all Vermont Dollar General stores are audited at least once per year.

“Deceptive advertising will not be tolerated,” Donovan said in a statement. “Knowing that Dollar General caters to low-income Vermonters makes their repeatedly misrepresenting prices particularly egregious.”

To read the Assurance of Discontinuance in In re: DG Retail, click here.

Why it matters: Dollar General’s history of overcharge errors—the company has paid at least $241,700 in penalties in Vermont since 2013—and its failure to correct the problem despite repeated warnings resulted in a sizable civil penalty and mandatory changes to the company’s policy and procedures.

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