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Ralphs Settles Lawsuit, Will Pay Hefty Sum

The grocery chain decides to pay penalties, costs and restitution to put legal action alleging overcharging on weighed food products behind it.

Ralphs Grocery Co. will pay more than $1.1 million in civil penalties, costs and restitution to settle allegations that it overcharged customers on deli and other weighed food products and failed to deduct the weight of packaging on those items.

"During these tough times, shoppers must be protected from misleading and unfair pricing practices, especially when they're buying groceries for their families," Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich said. "Ralphs and other big companies will be called out and held accountable when they overcharge and short-weight consumers. The city and our residents will not tolerate such bad corporate behavior."

Ralphs today issued a statement saying the company wanted to "put this
behind us."

"After an almost 3-year-old investigation regarding allegations occurring in 2009 it found what we already knew,'' according to the statement.

"Ralphs is industry-leading and will continue to be when it comes to providing our customers accurate pricing and precise labeling. We take these matters very seriously and any inadvertent discrepancies were corrected immediately for our customers. We have decided to put this behind us, and we are pleased the investigation is finally complete. We look forward to continuing to serve our customers throughout Southern California.

"As a judge noted back in 2010, even at that time, Ralphs had 99 percent accuracy on labeling and weighing its goods as well as an impressive weights and measures and price integrity program in all our stores. Clearly, there is nothing misleading nor unfair to Ralphs' pricing. Ralphs has continued
to improve in this area."   

Under terms of the settlement approved today by Los Angeles Superior
Court Judge
Gregory Alarcon, Ralphs, without admitting liability, agreed to an injunction and to pay $1 million in civil penalties, $13,820 in costs and $100,000 in restitution to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, according to the City Attorney's Office.

The $1 million in civil penalties will be split between the City Attorney's Office and Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, both of which investigated the case.

Also under the provisions:

   -- Ralphs is prohibited from charging, at the time of sale of a food item, a value that is more than the price advertised, posted, marked displayed
or quoted;

-- Ralphs may not sell any commodity in a smaller quantity than it is represented to be, and is not to make any false or misleading statements to the public with respect to the price of items offered for sale; and;

-- For the next four years, Ralphs must maintain a comprehensive compliance program to improve pricing accuracy and correct errors.

In Seal Beach, Ralphs is located at 12470 Seal Beach Boulevard.

Donald L Huizenga September 29, 2012 at 11:59 PM
Once again we see another shake-down by public entities seeking to enrich themselves at the expense of companies, and hence, the customers of those companies. Remember that all company expenses eventually are loaded into the pricing structure of the products they sell. The customer is the one who actually ends up paying this so-called penalty. If the City really had the interests of the citizens at heart, they would cut out waste and balance their own budgets with the tax revenue that the people allocate to the city, and stop trying to extort ever more and more from the people. The huff and puff statements made by the City officials are a smoke screen for their own greed. We have been through this drill too many times before.
Steve Yaffee September 30, 2012 at 05:28 AM
Donald, are you out of your mind? Since when does shortchanging custmers on the listed weight of Ralph's products and overcharging customers constitute fair business practices. Would you also be willing to be overcharged and shortchanged on other products and by other businesses as well? I can still remember when a "pound" can of coffee actually weighed sixteen ounces. Thankfully, we do have some limited governmental oversight and legal redress to prevent widespread commercial cheating.

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