Retail giant Wal-Mart has agreed to pay the largest fine in Michigan history to settle claims it committed "massive" violations of Michigan's item pricing law.
Under the terms of the record $1.5 million settlement, Wal-Mart will pay $780,000 in penalties and reimbursement of costs incurred by the state. Additional penalties of $620,000, to be deposited in a separate, segregated account, will be used to pay for independent audits.
"This far-reaching and innovative settlement will help assure continued item pricing compliance by Wal-Mart," Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox said. "It is my hope that it will also serve as a notice to other Michigan retailers that violation of Michigan's item pricing laws will not be tolerated."
"Michigan's law is clear: items on store shelves must be clearly marked with a price tag, so consumers know how much an item costs before they reach the checkout register and can verify that they were not overcharged after leaving the store," Cox said.
"Retailers that fail to individually price stock are in violation of the law and impede the ability of consumers to comparison shop for the lowest price."
Under the terms of the settlement, in addition to paying fines and costs, Wal-Mart will establish and implement an item pricing compliance plan to assure continued pricing compliance that includes maintaining adequate resources including appropriate staffing levels, equipment, and signage.
If follow-up audits establish continuing non-compliance, additional penalties will be imposed and paid from amounts placed in the segregated fund.
Wal-Mart also agreed to donate $100,000 to Michigan food banks.