Alameda County District Attorney Announces Settlement with Target to Resolve Overcharges and False Advertising Allegations
Target to pay $5 million in civil penalties
OAKLAND, CA — The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, along with six other district attorneys throughout the state, announces a settlement with the Target Corporation in a consumer protection action regarding overcharges and false advertisement.
The civil complaint, filed in Sonoma County Superior Court, alleged that Target unlawfully charged customers higher prices than the lowest advertised price. It is also alleged that Target advertised prices on the Target App that changed depending on whether the customer was inside or outside the store — a practice known as “geo-fencing.”
“Any company that does business in this State must verify that consumers are charged the same price at the cash register as is advertised on the floor,” District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley said. “We are committed to protecting consumer by holding all companies responsible for potentially inaccurate pricing practices. We are also focused on ensuring that online prices are displayed in an accurate and non-misleading manner.”
The judgment prohibits Target from engaging in false or misleading price advertising, from advertising prices on the app without clearly disclosing whether those prices are available in-store or online, and from continuing the practice of geo-fencing. The judgement also requires Target to implement audit and price accuracy protocols for at least a seven-year period.
Target cooperated in the investigation and, without admitting liability, was ordered to pay $5,000,000 in civil penalties, $200,000 in indirect restitution, and $173,618.81 to reimburse the various Agricultural Commissioners/Sealers around the state who conducted the investigation. The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office was joined by the district attorneys of Sonoma, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Cruz, San Diego, and Ventura counties.
If you believe you have been the victim of pricing inaccuracies or other consumer fraud, please contact the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office at askcepd-DA@acgov.org or (510) 383-8600. ###
Contact: Public Information Officer Angela Ruggiero // Angela.Ruggiero@acgov.org // (510) 919-0081