updated 07:55 pm EDT, Mon April 9, 2012
LA authority conducts 'price accuracy' inspections
Following an investigation by the LA consumer protection agency, one of the Glendale Apple stores has been fined a $200 civil penalty for overcharging on an item. The Americana at Brand store apparently sold an unnamed item (likely to be a Mac system) for $70 more than the lowest advertised store price at the time. Apple normally sells all new items at normal retail price, and any price fluctuation -- either lower or higher -- is uncommon. The incident occurred last August.
The violation is a criminal misdemeanor under California state law, reports Apple store tracker site ifoAppleStore, and could have resulted in a fine as high as $1,000 and up to a year in jail had the agency chosen to pursue a criminal violation. Instead the Los Angeles County Weights and Measures agency opted for a civil fine. The report did not detail exactly what item at the Glendale store was overcharged, or whether the customer received the overcharge back.
The pricing laws are generally aimed at cases of outright fraud, but they have also been used to ensure accurate databases of pricing for retailers. The same agency recently fined retail giant Wal-Mart over $2.1 million after an inspection revealed that the company was routinely scanning items at higher prices than were advertised. The company was found to be in violation of a 2008 judgement (stemming from a 2005 case) that required the company to settle register discrepancies at checkout in favor of the consumer. [via ifoAppleStore]