Wal-Mart has drawn a fine for charging New Yorkers more for Coca-Cola at one point this summer than it advertised.
The world’s largest retailer is accused of charging 50 cents more for a 12-pack of Coca-Cola than the amount advertised during a Father’s Day sale in June, according to a statement from New York General Eric Schneiderman. Wal-Mart advertised that its 12-pack Coca-Cola products were $3.00, but customers were charged $3.50 in its 17 stores across New York.
Investigators said that customers who inquired about the increase were told by Wal-Mart employees that the markup was due to a “sugar tax” imposed in New York. However, according to Schneiderman, the markup shows a 16 percent increase above the initial price advertised and violates New York State’s General Business Law.
“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 press release.
The investigation also found Wal-Mart ran a similar sale in March in which it failed to honor the advertised price and sold 66,000 of 12-packs Coca-Cola at an inflated price. Wal-Mart has agreed to settle for $66,000 in penalties and other costs related to improving its internal reporting.
In an e-mail to Bloomberg, Wal-Mart apologized for any inconvenience it may have caused its customers.
“We strive for accuracy, and we are further enhancing our procedures to help ensure proper promotional pricing,” company spokesman Randy Hargrove wrote.