Walmart Settles Allegations It Charged New Yorkers Too Much For Coca-Cola Products

Overcharging customers $0.50 might not seem like a huge deal, but when the lower price was circulated in an advertisement, well, that constitutes false advertising. Such was the case for Walmart stores in New York recently.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced today that the retail giant agreed to pay $66,000 in penalties to settle charges that it falsely advertised the price of Coca-Cola products during a Father’s Day sale earlier this year.

According to the AG’s office, the 117 Walmart stores in New York routinely charged consumers $3.50 for 12-packs of Coca-Cola products that were advertised in a national circular for $3.

In one instance when a customer brought the error to the attention of staff, he was allegedly told that the newspaper circular was a national ad and that it did not apply in New York.

Other customers reported that when they complained about the price discrepancy Walmart staff falsely told them that New York has a “Sugar Tax.”

The AG’s investigation found that the markup of over 16% above the advertised price is a violation of New York State’s General Business Law.

It was also determined that cash registers were programmed to not recognize the advertised sale price. On June 12, 2014, the Attorney General’s Office requested that Walmart immediately adjust prices to the amount advertised. Walmart took corrective action after it was approached by the Attorney General’s office.

Walmart was found to have run a similar sale in March that also resulted in the company failing to honor the advertised price for Coca-Cola in New York.

In all, the AG’s office found Walmart sold New Yorkers 66,000 12-packs of Coca-Cola at incorrect prices.

Under the settlement, Walmart will pay over $66,000 in penalties to cover the costs, to improve its internal reporting to more quickly act on information it receives about overcharges.

A.G. Schneiderman Announces False Advertising Settlement With Wal-Mart [New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s Office]