Montpelier, VT (STL.News) – Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan announced yesterday that his office has reached a $1.75 million settlement with DG Retail, LLC, also known as Dollar General, for violations of Vermont’s Consumer Protection Act. Under the settlement, Dollar General resolved claims that it sold products that were advertised on the shelf at a lower price than the price at the register, even after being told at least 50 times by state inspectors from the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets to correct the pricing inaccuracies. The Vermont Foodbank will receive $100,000 pursuant to the settlement.
“Deceptive advertising will not be tolerated,” Attorney General Donovan said. “Knowing that Dollar General caters to low-income Vermonters makes their repeatedly misrepresenting prices particularly egregious. I’m pleased that part of this settlement will directly benefit those Vermonters who struggle with food insecurity.”
Dollar General operates 36 retail stores across all 14 counties in Vermont. Dollar General stores sell a wide variety of groceries and household products. Pursuant to Vermont’s Weights and Measures laws, inspectors from the Agency of Agriculture routinely visit Dollar General stores to ensure that the shelf prices match the prices charged at the register. At any given inspection, inspectors randomly check the shelf prices of 50-100 products and compare them to the register prices. If the price charged at the register exceeds the shelf price, it is known as an “overcharge error.” Since October 2013, inspectors have found 362 overcharge errors at 22 different Dollar General stores. Of the 362 overcharge errors, the price charged at the register exceeded the shelf price by an amount ranging from $0.02 to $6.00 per item, with a median overcharge amount of $0.35.
“Consumer protection is part of our mission at the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets,” said Secretary of Agriculture Anson Tebbetts. “When someone shops at a store they should be assured they are getting what they paid for. The Agency’s scanner inspection program provides integrity at the check-out line.” More information about the Agency’s enforcement of the Weights and Measures laws can be found here.
Under the terms of the settlement, in addition to the $1.75 million payment, Dollar General is required to implement a Pricing Accuracy Policy to ensure that Vermonters are charged the price reflected on a product. Dollar General will also conduct pricing audits to ensure that their products are priced accurately. Copy of the settlement PDF.