Target Pays New Jersey $375K To Settle Fraud Charges

Target has agreed to pay New Jersey $375,000 to settle charges that it sold baby formula and non-prescription drugs that had expired, and that it charged higher prices on some products than what was displayed on the shelves.

From NJ.com:

State officials said the company will no longer sell non-prescription drugs or infant formula beyond their expiration dates, nor will it sell merchandise for more money than the displayed price. Target also created a new position to monitor the company’s compliance with the settlement for the next two years.

The state’s Division of Consumer Affairs sued Target, Walmart, and Drug Fair in September 2008, after finding that despite earlier agreements with the state, they were still selling expired products and charging wrong prices. Lawsuits against the other two retailers are still pending.

“Target reaches $375K settlement with N.J. for selling expired baby formula, charging different prices” [NJ.com]
(Photo: j.reed)

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  1. Donathius says:

    “…the company will no longer sell non-prescription drugs or infant formula beyond their expiration dates…”

    Ummm…yay?

    • Tim says:

      @Donathius: Yeah, isn’t it great.

    • DangerMouth says:

      @Donathius: My thought exactly.

      Um, shouldn’t they be actively NOT selling *everything* in the store past it’s expiration date? I mean, considering that most Targets also sell food…

      And Don’t most supermarkets seem to manage this remarkable feat without a Compliance Czar?

      • subtlefrog says:

        @DangerMouth: No, they don’t. I’ve seen expired merchandise in virtually every store I’ve ever been in at one point or another. Not that I am trying to say it’s ok. Just saying it’s prett prevalent.

  2. GitEmSteveDave_OverSleptThisMorn says:

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to hire a crew of people, and have them roam from store to store rather than one high priced idiot who doesn’t actually physically do anything?

  3. hobbes84k says:

    Ooh. I hope this doesn’t mean that we’re going to stop seeing funny Target prices and deals that aren’t deals. That’s one of my favorite things about Target.

  4. Zeratul010 says:

    So, despite earlier agreements with the state, Target was still selling expired products and charging wrong prices. State sues, and Target – agrees not to do it again.

    Well done, New Jersey.

  5. SaraFimm says:

    Obviously, these companies don’t pay their employees to get the smartest or most industrious. Usually, it’s the employees (stocking) that pull expired merchandise and change the prices on the shelves to reflect what the store’s registers have been programmed to collect. So . . . maybe these companies should either higher more employees (doubt they will) or try to find good employees (good luck!), but I bet they’ll just let the poop roll downhill on some poor shmucks who are overworked and underpaid.

    • morlo says:

      @SaraFimm: All stocking should be done by robots anyway. Absent that, RFID tags should make it easy to find expired items. Absent that, bar codes should contain expiration dates. Absent that, we are a society of stupid stupid monkeys.

    • Deranged_Kitsune says:

      @SaraFimm: It was likely management telling those workers not to pull the expired merchandise from the shelves in the first place to make their bottom line look better by not having to write it off.

  6. smiling1809 says:

    Hopefully, they will stop selling lunch meat, spinach, meat, eggs, cheese, and yogurt that are expired as well. I HATE having to muddle through things just to find something that wither hasn’t expired or doesn’t expire tomorrow.

  7. Eldritch says:

    And yet, Target is still better than Walmart somehow… even this news won’t stop me from shopping Target. And I’m in NJ.

  8. ShruggingGalt says:

    I heard that they settled for 375k, but when the state rang it up, it came out as 400k.

  9. TWinter says:

    The separate crew thing is really a good idea. Store managers are under lots of pressure to keep weekly hours worked under a certain number and checking expiration dates on vitamins and aspirin is always going to be a low-priority activity. A crew that sweeps in to do this every few months gets the job done and doesn’t use work hours charged directly to the store.

  10. foodfeed says:

    i almost bought nicotine patches for my roommate on clearance at target last month until i noticed the expiration date from 2008. i asked the pharmacist and was informed that they were probably less effective and the adhesive might not hold. i told the pharmacist i would be getting the full price product and she asked if i could put the expired one back on the shelf.

  11. channelx99 says:

    Target does this all the time. When I go shopping I always buy only a few things on each trip but go more often. On 2/3′s of my visits they overcharged me for one or several items I purchased and I have to point out what the advertised and displayed price was to get it.

  12. TheMonkeyKing says:

    I guess I never thought expired items at a store are considered fraud. I thought it was lazy staffing or uninspired inventory management.

    After all, I do read the labels and expiration dates. (And should everyone else, too.) You’ve probably seen me in the grocery store: I’m the one reaching into the back of the cooler to get the milk with the most distant expiration date. And when I’ve seen an item with an expired date, I’d give it to one of the stock people. I guess I should have sued them instead…

    But then again, I don’t think I’ve ever shopped at a Target for any consumables (food, medicine). And lately, Target’s advertised prices aren’t that attractive anyway.

  13. Looseneck says:

    @Skankingmike: No, they were in trouble way before then. I worked in the corporate office until soon before the company closed down.

  14. Skankingmike says:

    @Looseneck: well it felt pretty over night. Not that i used them often. They always seemed dirty to me.

  15. Looseneck says:

    @Skankingmike: They were a private company so the problems were hidden from the public until the end.

    The stores were suffering from 60′s decor-making them look and feel dirty. Many stores were in the process of make-overs, but the bankruptcy took care of that, no need to clean up the empty building left behind!

    I didn’t like shopping there myself since they stocked the same cheap, made-in-China crap everybody else seems to be selling. I don’t blame you for staying away.