Missouri Wants Walgreen Held in Contempt

     JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (CN) – Missouri’s attorney general on Tuesday asked a state judge to hold Walgreen pharmacies in contempt for violating a settlement agreement.
     Attorney General Chris Koster claims Walgreens routinely deceives customers with expired tags in stores, overcharging them. Koster sued Walgreen in 2103 for deceptive trade.
     A consent judgment was entered on June 4, 2014, in which Walgreens agreed to remove tags within 12 hours of expiration. The agreement allowed customers who were overcharged $5 or less to get that item for free, and customers who overcharged by more than $5 to a $10 Walgreens gift card along with the item at the lowest advertised price.
     Koster claims an investigation this summer showed that Walgreen stores across the state have not removed the expired tags. He says his office found more than 1,300 expired sales tags in 49 stores, including two that expired in 2013.
     “My office’s 2013 investigation showed a relationship between expired tags and consumers being overcharged at the register,” Koster said in a statement. “Consumers should not have to dig through outdated and incorrect information to find out the true price of any item.”
     The contempt motion, filed Tuesday in Jackson County Court, asks a judge to fine Walgreens up to $5,000 for every expired tag that Koster’s investigators found, plus additional penalties for every day that an expired tag is found in a Walgreen’s store.
     Walgreens has already paid Missouri $136,500 for pricing violations found in regularly scheduled independent audits required by the consent judgment.
     Thirty Walgreens stores failed the audits. One store failed six consecutive times.
     “I promised Missouri consumers that we were going to stay on Walgreen’s back until it corrected its deceptive ways,” Koster said. “It is the stores’ responsibility to ensure fair and accurate pricing. We are not going to quit until Walgreens gets it right.”

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