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Glendale Apple Store fined $200 for overcharging error

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]





by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. que_ball

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Odd

    A strange occurrence for an Apple store.

    I can pretty much assume it was a third party product. Apple is really strict on pricing of their own branded items. Probably something a bit expensive like a higher end ipod stereo dock if I were to guess. Likely mixed up the pricing of two similar units. Odd that it would be handled as a consumer protection complaint too. Why not just get a refund at the store? Is the law so harsh that a store isn't allowed to make any honest mistakes?

    There must have been a serious break down in some way because Apple stores are pretty easy to deal with for a refund. Maybe some manager turned out to be a jerk in this case?

  1. mrrwthird

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -1

    Even

    The offending employee should be sentenced to six months hard labor at Foxconn.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    The product

    was most likely not a Mac. As stated from the linked article:

    According to the Los Angeles County Weights and Measures agency, the Americana at Brand (Glendale) store sold an item for $70 more than the stated price on the packaging

    Apple doesn't put price on it's packaging, so either it was a third-party product, or they misspoke (and meant posted or advertised).

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -2

    Re: Odd

    Odd that it would be handled as a consumer protection complaint too. Why not just get a refund at the store?

    No one said they 'handled it'. And they may have gotten the refund, maybe the same day. But the whole point of the agency and the law is to keep the retailers honest. People report these things all the time the same way people will report a business to the BBB. One report may not mean anything, but if there's a slew, then there may be indications of a systemic problem (take the Walmart example in the article).

    What is surprising is that the actually did something with the report. I don't know whether that is part of the law, that every violation requires a penalty or even an investigation.

    Is the law so harsh that a store isn't allowed to make any honest mistakes?

    As sibeale1 said, how can you be sure it is an honest mistake? (I know, it's Apple, a large company, unlikely to be trying to s**** the customer like a small, single store operation might. Then again, see Walmart example above). And perhaps they are allowed to make an honest mistake, but maybe the store was told of the problem by the customer, and the investigation turned up that Apple did nothing about fixing the issue. Then it was an honest mistake, but an intentional action to not fix it.

    There must have been a serious break down in some way because Apple stores are pretty easy to deal with for a refund. Maybe some manager turned out to be a jerk in this case?

    Again, nothing to do with a refund. But don't dismiss the store manager being a jerk.

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