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AutoZone settles state suit

June 09, 2007|From the Associated Press

The nation's largest automotive parts retailer has agreed to pay California and four counties $1.5 million to settle a lawsuit accusing it of mishandling used motor oil and overcharging customers.

AutoZone Inc. said it would change its waste-disposal procedure and its pricing system.

Ray Pohlman, a spokesman for the Memphis, Tenn.-based company, said Friday that it did not admit any wrongdoing.

"It was a good process where a retailer and government worked together," he said.

State prosecutors and the district attorneys of San Bernardino, Monterey, San Diego and San Joaquin counties sued AutoZone in 2005.

The suit claimed that the company violated state health and safety provisions that mandate safe storage and disposal of oil because customers would abandon waste oil in store parking lots or in trash bins after buying new oil at AutoZone shops.

The retailer didn't comply with its legal duty to have a licensed waste hauler remove the old oil, San Bernardino Deputy Dist. Atty. Glenn Yabuno said.

The overcharging allegations involved cashier scanners programmed with higher prices than those printed on shelves, Yabuno said.

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