PetSmart Pays Big For Overcharging Customers

PetSmart will face a large penalty and other costs as it settles a lawsuit from seven California district attorneys regarding its advertising and charging practices.

PetSmart’s Multi-County Lawsuit

PetSmart will pay $1.46 million to settle a lawsuit filed by prosecutors in Los Angeles and other California counties alleging the retailer overcharged customers for items that were advertised for lower prices.

According to the LA County District Attorney’s Office, PetSmart admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement. However, they will pay $1.25 million in penalties, $100,000 in restitution to support future enforcement of consumer protection laws and $110,000 in investigative costs.

The lawsuit was filed in Santa Cruz County, but Sonoma, Alameda, Marin, San Diego, Ventura and Los Angeles counties joined the suit along with Contra Costa County.

Customers Charged Higher Prices

“Charging customers prices higher than what was advertised is misleading and unfair,” District Attorney George Gascn said in a statement.

“Customers have the right to expect that the prices they see advertised will be honored. It’s important for companies to adhere to advertising regulations and ensure transparency in their pricing practices.”

Prosecutors say PetSmart cooperated with the investigation and has instituted new policies and procedures to improve pricing accuracy.

PetSmart Settles And Agrees To Notify Customers

The settlement forbids the company from “false or misleading” advertising and from overcharging shoppers. 

The agreement also includes orders that prohibit the company from charging an amount greater than the lowest price posted for an item.

According to Asregadoo, PetSmart must add additional audit and price accuracy procedures in its California stores for a three-year period.

They also must notify customers of their right to be charged the lowest currently advertised price on any item offered for sale, he said.

PetSmart’s retail presence in California involves over 160 stores, according to its website, and over 1,660 across North America.

In other PetSmart news, they recently denied all wrongdoing in another case. The pet store giant agreed to pay $424,255 in settlement funds to compensate 472 current and former employees who worked in the retailer’s warehouse in Ottawa, Illinois and who used Honeywell’s Vocollect headset while working.

The lawsuit stated PetSmart required some employees to wear a voice tracking headset that unlawfully collected their voice data in violation of Illinois law.

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