Walgreens is getting a stern reprimand from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who says the drug store giant and its subsidiary, Duane Reade, overcharged New York consumers.
Schneiderman said he has obtained a settlement with Walgreens, requiring the company to pay $500,000 and reform its advertising practices.
Schneiderman said there were cases when consumers purchased items at Walgreens, finding one price marked on the store shelf but being changed to another when they got to the register.
Michael Zucker, Director of Change to Win Research Initiatives, a New York consumer group, said Walgreens failed to provide the staffing and systems needed to accurately price its products.
“We’ve seen these deceptive practices in a number of other states, costing consumers and violating the public trust,” Zucker said in a release.
Schneiderman said a statewide investigation found that Walgreens published ads with sale prices and listed the sale prices on store shelves next to the items. However, he said when consumers took the items to the checkout counter, they paid more because the sale price had expired.
He also said the company listed a product as a “great buy,” when the sale price was the regular price for the item. Other issues in the complaint were suggestions that an item was marked down for clearance for a short time, when in fact it remained on store shelves for eight to 10 months; stores also implied that an item provided an immediate cash discount, when in fact the discount applied only on a future purchase.
Schneiderman says the investigation also determined that the company failed to tell consumers, in clear and consistent language, how its loyalty incentive program works. He said the company website had two different charts regarding point redemption.
There are approximately 251 Walgreens and 214 Duane Reade stores in New York State.