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 user 2007-09-14 at 11:14:00 am Views: 46
  • #18755

    Clara County District Attorney Dolores A. Carr announced today that her
    office joined with the District Attorneys of Marin, Sonoma, Ventura,
    Solano, Napa, Shasta, Sacramento, and Los Angeles counties, and the
    City Attorney of the City of Los Angeles, to settle a consumer
    protection case filed against Office Depot, Inc. the operator of
    “Office Depot” stores through California. The initial investigation
    arose out of inspections of Office Depot’s checkout scanners by state
    and local Weights and Measures inspectors. The Stipulated Final
    Judgment was approved by the Santa Clara County Superior Court.Office
    Depot cooperated with prosecutors during the investigation and agreed
    to additional price check programs to enhance its pricing accuracy.
    Under the terms of the settlement, without admitting any wrongdoing,
    Office Depot, Inc., agreed to pay $2,300,000 in civil penalties and
    $285,791 to reimburse costs of investigation. Office Depot will also
    offer restitution to the public in the form of a coupon good for $5.00
    off in-store purchases at California Office Depot stores. The coupon
    will be prominently placed in an Office Depot Sunday ad circular to be
    published within the next several months. Office Depot will also
    provide a price guarantee of up to $5.00 if, at the time of purchase, a
    consumer is charged a price that is higher than the lowest advertised
    price for an item. This price guarantee will be posted in every store
    in California.District Attorney Carr acknowledged the efforts of
    Weights and Measures officials in monitoring retail pricing so that
    consumers get the correct prices when they shop. Carr said, “Most
    scanner overcharges by stores are the result of carelessness or
    negligence rather than an intentional act. But businesses must
    establish procedures and devote resources to promote price accuracy.
    Our office brings actions such as this to ensure that businesses comply
    with their responsibilities. Consumers should also be vigilant at the
    cash register to make sure they are charged the correct price for the
    items they purchase.”

    Office Depot settles consumer protection suit for $2.5 million

    Depot settled a $2.5 million consumer protection lawsuit Tuesday that
    was initiated by Shasta County.The settlement, which included seven
    other counties in California, stemmed from a customer complaint in 2002
    out of the Cypress Avenue store in Redding, said Shasta County Deputy
    District Attorney Erin Dervin, who prosecuted the case.Investigators
    found that in some instances, the store failed to charge the correct
    prices for merchandise — either because scanners were improperly
    programmed or because workers failed to take down old sale signs.When
    the investigation broadened, it was determined that the problems
    existed at other stores in California.”The problem was in their
    computer system, so the same problem at the Cypress Store was happening
    at their Dana Drive store (in Redding), their stores in Sacramento,
    Riverside,” Dervin said.Office Depot Inc. agreed to pay $2.3 million in
    civil penalties and $285,791 to reimburse investigation costs. The
    store also will offer $5-off coupons to customers. The coupons will
    appear in a future Office Depot Sunday newspaper advertisement.What’s
    more, Office Depot will offer customers a price guarantee of up to $5
    if, at any time of purchase, a shopper is charged a price that is
    higher than the lowest advertised price for an item.The settlement also
    involves Marin, Sonoma, Ventura, Solano, Napa, Santa Clara, Sacramento
    and Los Angeles counties. The suit was filed in Santa Clara
    County.Under terms of the deal, Shasta County will receive $230,000,
    which will go into the county’s general fund.The initial investigation
    arose from inspections of Office Depot checkout scanners by Shasta
    County Weights and Measures officials.Dervin said customers were
    overcharged an average of $12.”There were many different products. One
    was a two-drawer filing cabinet, but there was also something as small
    as a package of pens,” Dervin said.Dervin said Office Depot was not
    intentionally misleading customers. Rather, the problems arose from
    negligent behavior or simple carelessness.Dervin also commended Office
    Depot for its cooperation with investigators.”Office Depot did
    something unprecedented in the area of unfair business litigation. They
    opened their books to us,” Dervin said. “We were able to do a
    full-blown audit of every transaction in the state. That took months to
    get through.”