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CVS to pay $2 million in overcharging, misleading-ads settlement

The pharmacy chain settles a consumer protection lawsuit alleging that it overcharged customers for sale items and engaged in misleading advertising.

August 20, 2011|By Andrea Chang, Los Angeles Times

CVS Pharmacy has agreed to pay more than $2 million in fines and other costs to settle a consumer protection lawsuit alleging that the drugstore chain overcharged customers for sale items and engaged in misleading advertising.

The civil complaint, filed Aug. 11 in Los Angeles County Superior Court, alleged that CVS failed to provide an immediate discount for certain advertised items. An investigation also determined that since 2006, the company routinely charged consumers more for items than the advertised sale price.

Under the terms of the settlement, CVS agreed to pay $1.2 million in civil penalties and $420,000 in investigative costs.

The company also agreed to contribute $300,000 to the California Department of Measurement Standards and $100,000 to the Consumer Protection Trust toward enforcement of consumer protection laws, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

A CVS spokesman said that the company worked cooperatively with the district attorneys for Los Angeles, Riverside and Ventura counties to resolve the allegations but that it did not admit any wrongdoing.

CVS also agreed to initiate and administer pricing programs for three years to ensure that consumers are not overcharged for their purchases.

Prosecutors said the company would undertake weekly in-store inspections to ensure pricing accuracy. CVS also will implement a "scan-right" program guarantee that will give consumers up to $2 off if an item has scanned at a higher price than advertised.

andrea.chang@latimes.com

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