Wal-Mart has agreed to pay Arizona $1 million to settle a 2006 consumer fraud lawsuit filed by Attorney General Terry Goddard.
The retail giant has already shelled out $450,000 to the state for screwing over consumers with its inaccurate pricing. In a
history laid out by Goddard's office, from 2001 to 2006 Wal-Mart consistently rang up the wrong prices on items scanned in at the cash registers. It also failed frequently to put prices on items on the shelves, leaving consumers ignorant about overcharges, the lawsuit alleges.
The million bucks goes to consumer fraud prevention (we see another
publication with Goddard's face on it in the future...) and to a
monitoring system that's supposed to ensure Wal-Mart doesn't keeping
pulling the same tricks.
Smartly, Arizona built in an incentive to keep Wal-Mart honest:
Whenever a store screws up and fails a pricing test by an "independent
monitor," the company pays $2,500 for the first violation and $5,000
for each one thereafter. The company failed a total of 526 inspectors
over a five-year period, so it's either going to change its ways or
help Arizona meet its spending budget next year.
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