Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is taking on Walgreen Co., accusing the pharmacy chain of overcharging customers. He filed a lawsuit yesterday, claiming the company is yanking customers’ chains by posting misleading or deceptive price tags on various items, after undercover investigators checked out consumer complaints at area stores.
Koster’s lawsuit seeks an injunction to make the chain stop using allegedly deceptive practices, and also wants Walgreens to pay unspecified fines and damages, reports the Associated Press.
“My concern is this is not sloppiness — this is a business practice that is consciously intending to steal from sick people that go into Walgreens, from old people that go into Walgreens,” Koster said.
Consumers in Missouri had been complaining that display tag prices didn’t tell the true story when it came time for customers to check out, Koster said. His office set up an undercover sting of sorts, sending investigators to eight stores in Missouri in June and July. After buying 205 items, investigators said 43 had price discrepancies, some of which reached as high as $15.
According to Koster, consumers were overcharged by way of outdated price displays for sale items; confusion created by multiple prices displayed for the same item; displays offering discounts for rewards members, but with no discount given; and full prices charged for items in clearance bins.
A Walgreens spokesman says the company hasn’t seen the lawsuit and therefore declined to comment. The company previously agreed to pay $1.4 million in civil penalties as the result of a California price discrepancy case, and settled claims in Wisconsin that it scanned inaccurate prices and didn’t post refund notices at store.
“I expect this will not be the last state to take on Walgreens,” Koster said.
Missouri AG Sues Walgreen Co., Claims Overcharging [Associated Press]