The State of New Jersey is suing Rite Aid, charging the drug store chain sold expired merchandise, including non-prescription drugs, infant formula and baby food, and charged consumers prices in excess of those listed on the shelf.

The complaint seeks civil penalties, consumer restitution and an order directing the defendants to remove and destroy all expired non-prescription drugs, infant formula or baby food from any Rite Aid store in the state.

The complaint alleges that the defendants violated the Consumer Fraud Act (CFA) and the Weights and Measures Act, and violated the terms of prior agreements with the Division.

"It is unconscionable that a store would sell expired merchandise -- especially infant formula, baby food and nonprescription medications -- to unsuspecting consumers who rely on these products for the care and welfare of their loved ones," said Attorney General Stuart Rabner.

"The behavior of these stores is even more egregious because they had previously agreed not to engage in any such violations and cease and desist from selling expired products."

During the period of August 14, 2006 through October 3, 2006, the Division, including the Office of Weights and Measures and the Office of Consumer Protection, investigated approximately 104 Rite Aid stores. The defendants currently operate approximately 159 Rite Aid stores in New Jersey.

The state alleges it found the following violations:

• the sale of expired merchandise at approximately 42 retail stores;

• unconscionable commercial practices, false promises and/or misrepresentations;

• failure to post a refund policy or obscuring the posted refund policy at approximately 31 retail stores;

• charging consumers prices that exceed the price posted at the point of display;

• violation of an October 2001 assurance of voluntary compliance (AVC) by defendants; and

• violation of a November 2001 consent order and a June 2005 consent order by Rite Aid NJ

The States complaint also alleges that the defendants violated the Weights and Measures Act due to improper price scanning by at least 76 store locations.