Ralphs Grocery Co. will pay more than $1.1 million in civil penalties, costs and restitution to settle allegations that it overcharged customers on deli and other weighed food products and failed to deduct the weight of packaging on those items.
"During these tough times, shoppers must be protected from misleading
and unfair pricing practices, especially when they're buying groceries for
their families," Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich said. "Ralphs and
other big companies will be called out and held accountable when they
overcharge and short-weight consumers. The city and our residents will not
tolerate such bad corporate behavior."
Ralphs issued a statement Thursday saying the company wanted to "put this
"After an almost 3-year-old investigation regarding allegations occurring in 2009 it found what we already knew," according to the statement.
"Ralphs is industry-leading and will continue to be when it comes to providing our customers accurate pricing and precise labeling. We take these matters very seriously and any inadvertent discrepancies were corrected immediately for our customers. We have decided to put this behind us, and we are pleased the investigation is finally complete. We look forward to continuing to serve our customers throughout Southern California.
"As a judge noted back in 2010, even at that time, Ralphs had 99 percent accuracy on labeling and weighing its goods as well as an impressive weights and measures and price integrity program in all our stores. Clearly, there is nothing misleading nor unfair to Ralphs' pricing. Ralphs has continued to improve in this area."
Under terms of the settlement approved today by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Gregory Alarcon, Ralphs, without admitting liability, agreed to an injunction and to pay $1 million in civil penalties, $13,820 in costs and $100,000 in restitution to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, according to the City Attorney's Office.
The $1 million in civil penalties will be split between the City Attorney's Office and Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, both of which investigated the case.
Also under the provisions:
-- Ralphs is prohibited from charging, at the time of sale of a food item, a value that is more than the price advertised, posted, marked displayed or quoted;
-- Ralphs may not sell any commodity in a smaller quantity than it is
represented to be, and is not to make any false or misleading statements to the public with respect to the price of items offered for sale; and;
-- For the next four years, Ralphs must maintain a comprehensive
compliance program to improve pricing accuracy and correct errors.