(WFRV) – Dollar General will pay just under $1,000,000 in civil forfeitures, surcharges, and fees after officials found them in violation of Wisconsin’s price accuracy laws.
On Monday, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) announced a significant settlement with Dollar General Corporation, resolving 662 alleged violations of Wisconsin price accuracy laws and 53 suspected violations of refund policy disclosure requirement laws by the retailer.
Under the settlement, Dollar General does not admit to violating Wisconsin law but will pay $850,006,11 in civil forfeitures, surcharges, and fees.
DATCP says they conducted price verification inspections at 238 Dollar General stores between January 30 and February 10, 2023. DATCP inspectors and municipal inspectors from Appleton, Green Bay, Madison, Menasha, Milwaukee, Reedsburg, and South Milwaukee checked 7,344 products sold by Dollar General to ensure that prices charged at the register matched, or were lower than, prices posted on shelves.
Of these items, DATCP alleged that 662 scanned at higher prices than what was posted, resulting in customers being overcharged for 9% of the inspected products. On average, these products checked at a 17% higher cost than the stated price.
If a customer is overcharged for an item, Wisconsin law requires merchants using electronic price scanner systems to refund at least the difference between the posted price and the price charged at the point of sale.
These merchants must legally inform customers of this law by conspicuously posting a sign. However, DATCP alleged that Dollar General stores were missing the required signage at 45 stores during the inspection and at eight stores upon re-inspection.
“The accuracy of prices on store shelves is among the most basic and essential protections consumers have,” said DATCP Secretary Randy Romanski. “Consumers should be able to trust that the prices advertised to them are accurate, and they have a right to be informed of the laws protecting them.”
These inspections follow a 2018 settlement wherein Dollar General paid $10,586.50 for similar alleged violations.
Dollar General Corporation has paid $850,006.11 to settle the alleged 2023 price accuracy and price refund signage violations. Additionally, the business has made changes to prevent future violations, including internal price accuracy checks at every store in Wisconsin at least once every 45 days.
Dollar General reports that it has invested, and continues to invest, in improving its price accuracy practices in Wisconsin. Since learning of the alleged violations in January, Dollar General has spent approximately $70,000 to verify price accuracy and expects to spend roughly $300,000 annually to support price accuracy in Wisconsin going forward.