will be paying almost $1 million in civil penalties, cost and restitution to four Bay Area counties, including Marin, for charging consumers more than the lowest advertised price.
In addition to paying the $968,157, the office supply chain agreed to provisions to ensure future compliance and will be audited in its California stores for five years. The final judgment was entered into on August 13, 2012, and each of the four prosecuting counties, which were Marin, Contra Costa, Sonoma and Napa, will receive $210,477 from the agreed civil penalties.
“California law requires businesses to implement and maintain systems to ensure that their customers are charged the correct price,” Marin District Attorney Ed Berberian said in a release. “Our consumer unit has and will continue to work closely with the Marin County Department of Agriculture, Division of Weights and Measures to protect the consumers of this county and the state from these types of violations.”
The case arose from regular inspections by the California Department of Agriculture, Division of Measurement Standards, which coordinated their investigation with Weights & Measures departments in the participating counties.
Price scanner inspections at Staples stores disclosed several occasions where the price charged at the cash register was not the lowest posted or advertised price. Staples was cooperative during this investigation and have now instituted new policies and procedures to ensure pricing accuracy.
Staples entered into the settlement without any admission of wrongdoing, and their counsel and company worked cooperatively with the prosecutors’ offices to resolve this matter, according to the release.