RICHMOND, Va. (CN) - A woman says Wal-Mart sold her a used video camera as new, and she can prove it because her daughters saw graphic pornography on it. The federal class action accuses Wal-Mart of negligence and violating consumer laws.
April Cortez says her 10- and 13-year-old girls found the "graphic pornography" on the camera, which left them "both crying hysterically" with "severe emotional trauma."
She says that when she saw the porn to which her daughters had been exposed, "she became emotionally distraught and physically ill herself, to such a degree that she was incapable of comforting and calming her daughters at that moment, ultimately requiring her husband to deal with the situation."
Cortez says Wal-Mart sells used and returned merchandise as new without telling its customers. She claims that if Wal-Mart employees discover that a returned item has been damaged or is missing a component, they simply slap a discount tag on it, usually 10%, and put it back on the shelves.
The new price tag looks identical to the original and contains no warnings that the merchandise has been used, she says.
"Wal-Mart recognizes that if it disclosed to the public that an item had been previously used and/or returned, it could not successfully re-sell the item for 90-100% of its original price in most instances," Cortez says.
She says that's how her young daughters were exposed to pornography on a presumptively new camera. Wal-Mart chooses not to disclose to customers that merchandise has been returned, so it can increase its profits, Cortez says.
She claims that Wal-Mart has a history of putting returned merchandise back on the shelves without inspecting it, and that numerous complaints have been filed by consumers who bring their "new" electronics home only to find the box filled with rocks, paper or other materials.
She seeks punitive damages and attorney fees. She is represented by Matthew Erausquin of Alexandria.
Read the Top 8
Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.