Walmart Settles False Advertising Charges on Coke Prices

Coca-Cola 12 packs are displayed in the front of Nino Gaudin
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
When customers in at least one state went into Walmart (WMT) stores during a national sale on Coca-Cola (KO) 12-packs, they were charged more than 16 percent over the advertised price. When they complained about being overcharged, many were allegedly told a fabricated story that the price difference was due to the state "sugar tax."

Now Walmart is paying for it.

New York state went after Walmart after getting reports from consumers that 12-packs of Coke products advertised for $3 were being sold for $3.50 during a Father's Day sale. An investigation found that the same thing had happened in March, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman's office said on Tuesday.

Walmart agreed to pay $66,000 to settle the charges after it was determined that 66,000 12-packs were rung up at the wrong price. The overcharges occurred in 117 stores, the attorney general's office said, because the registers were programmed to ignore the sale prices.

"There has to be one set of rules for everyone, no matter how rich or how powerful, and that is why our office must ensure that even the largest corporations cannot advertise one price and then charge a higher one to New Yorkers," Schneiderman said in a statement.

Even though consumers had repeatedly complained about the price at the register being different from the advertised price, Walmart did not correct the problem until being confronted by the attorney general's office, he said.

Walmart emailed the following statement to DailyFinance:
We are pleased to have reached an agreement with the New York Attorney General's office that addressed concern about a promotional pricing issue in our New York stores. We strive for accuracy, and we are further enhancing our procedures to help ensure proper promotional pricing. We apologize for any inconvenience to our customers. They can rest assured that Walmart is committed to delivering the products they need at everyday low prices.
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