AG Weiser announces settlement with Walmart for overcharging customers
July 13, 2023 (DENVER) – Attorney General Phil Weiser announced today a settlement reached with Walmart over the company’s failure to ensure the price customers paid for its products matched the price listed on the shelf. This settlement is part of a partnership between Weiser and Attorney General Aaron Ford of Nevada.
Under the terms of the settlement, the company will pay $3 million to Colorado, which will be used to help fund local food pantries and other programs that Coloradans who earn low incomes lean on to afford food and other necessities.
“All retailers have a duty to ensure the price their customers pay at the register is the same one they see on shelves,” said Weiser. “Today’s settlement provides consumers with reassurance that they’re paying the price they expect when they shop at Walmart and other stores. It’s also important that the money from the settlement will benefit Coloradans who are struggling economically—the same Coloradans who were most affected by Walmart’s inaccurate pricing.”
Walmart’s in-store pricing system relies heavily on store associates manually updating price changes. In 2022, during a period of increasing labor shortages and record-high inflation in Colorado and Nevada, Walmart’s pricing system repeatedly failed to pass price inspections from state agriculture department officials. Those officials conduct regular inspections using federal guidance to ensure customers get accurate pricing information. From March-July 2022, Walmart failed nine of 17 state inspections in Colorado.
During negotiations with Colorado and Nevada, Walmart took steps to address these discrepancies between shelf and register price by:
- Increasing training for associates tasked with changing shelf prices;
- Requiring associates be close to the relevant shelf when accepting price changes; and
- Limiting the number of price labels an associate can print at one time.
Under the terms of the settlement, Walmart also agreed to the following future action:
- Instituting quarterly pricing accuracy inspections;
- Enacting a corrective action plan for stores that fail company inspections including retraining, discussing accurate pricing with the store manager, additional scrutiny for stores that fail initial inspections, and investigating any technological causes for failing to provide accurate pricing; and
- Reporting to the state on the results of these inspections and conferring on any necessary corrective action.
In addition to funding local food pantries and other programs, the Colorado Department of Law may also offer grant opportunities or funding to other nonprofits or organizations with similar missions.