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2002-07-13
Lansing, MI. Home Depot Pays Largest Fine in History Over Unit Pricing Law

The Attorney General's Office in Michigan has been on Home Depot's case for years regarding the corporation's lack of compliance with Michigan law which requires that all products for sale in a retail store have a clearly marked price on each item. According to the Attorney General: "Consumers complained to our office when they couldn't find prices. We took their complaints to the company, and the company agreed to work harder for its customers." Home Depot also agreed to pay a $500,000 fine for alleged violations of the Michigan Consumer Protection Act and the Pricing and Advertising of Consumer Items Act (the so-called Item Pricing Act). Home Depot agreed to implement "proactive programs" at its 45 Michigan stores in the future. Home Depot, in an Assurance of Discontinuance agreement, said it would make sure that the company had enough staff, equipment and signage in each store to make sure that every product is priced clearly for consumers. The company also agreed to have "in-store price auditors" at every store in Michigan to conduct weekly audits of items to make sure that prices are marked. In cases of large items, like drywall, paneling or lumber, Home Depot agreed to provide consumers with an order sheet that clearly lists products and specific prices. Without such information, by the time consumers get to the check out counter, they can't recall what the various prices of the items they purchased really are, and therefore can't compare the register print out to what the shelf pricing was. After being pursued by Michigan's highest legal officials, Home Depot has finally agreed to comply with state law, and paid half a million bucks to make things right.

What you can do: For more history on this unit pricing debate, search this Newsflash database using the words "unit pricing". Consumers are advised that the best way to avoid this lack of unit pricing is to avoid shopping at stores that have had unit pricing problems. Don't rely on a Home Depot "auditor" to protect your right to see a price on each item -- just take your money to some other store.










 
 
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