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VALLEY NEWS

5 Area Lucky Stores Fined for Overcharging Customers

November 11, 1998|EVELYN LARRUBIA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

VAN NUYS — Lucky Stores agreed to pay more than $8,000 in fines and penalties Tuesday to settle misdemeanor allegations of overcharging customers on discounted merchandise at five San Fernando Valley markets.

Daniel Doyle, an attorney representing the supermarkets, entered no contest pleas for two misdemeanor charges and three infractions. He declined further comment.

"There's not much of a legal argument [on the] part of the corporation," said Deputy City Atty. Don Cocek, who prosecuted the case. "We have the receipt, we have the shelf tag, what can they say?"

County inspectors posing as customers found that 19 of the 119 items they bought at the stores between May and June rang up higher than the shelf price at the markets, which advertise as the "low price leader." Scanners rang up only one product for less than the shelf price, according to the Los Angeles city attorney's office.

Last month, city prosecutors filed criminal charges against the stores and the managers who were running them the day of the inspection.

Charges against the managers were dropped Tuesday, when the stores agreed to settle.

"We never know what the source of the problem is, whether it's a computer error or human error," Cocek said. "All we have to do is prove there's a difference. If it's an overcharge, they lose."

The stores in question are located at: 13051 Victory Blvd. in North Hollywood; 8231 Woodman Ave. in Panorama City; 7134 Sepulveda Blvd. and 6821 Lennox Ave. in Van Nuys, and 16201 San Fernando Road in Granada Hills.

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