Dollar General has made changes to prevent future violations, including internal price accuracy checks at every store in Wisconsin at least once every 45 days.
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has reached a settlement with Dollar General Corp., resolving 662 alleged violations of Wisconsin price accuracy laws and 53 alleged violations of refund policy disclosure requirement laws by the retailer. Under the settlement, Dollar General does not admit to any violation of Wisconsin law, but will pay $850,006 in civil forfeitures, surcharges and fees.
DATCP conducted price verification inspections at 238 Dollar General stores in Wisconsin between Jan. 30 and Feb. 10, 2023. DATCP Weights and Measures inspectors and municipal inspectors from Appleton, Green Bay, Kenosha, Madison, Menasha, Milwaukee, Reedsburg and South Milwaukee checked 7,344 products sold by Dollar General to ensure that prices charged at the register matched, or were lower than, prices posted on store shelves. Of these items, DATCP alleged that 662 scanned at a higher price than was posted, resulting in customers being overcharged for 9% of the inspected products. On average, these products scanned at a 17% higher cost than the stated price.
If a customer is overcharged for an item, Wisconsin law requires that merchants using electronic price scanner systems refund at least the difference between the posted price and the price charged at point of sale. Retailers are legally required to inform customers of this law by posting a visible sign to customers; however, DATCP alleged that Dollar General stores were missing this required signage at 45 stores during the initial inspection, and at eight stores upon reinspection.
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These inspections follow a 2018 settlement wherein Dollar General paid $10,586 for similar alleged violations. Between that settlement and the 2023 statewide inspection, 89 routine price accuracy inspections were conducted at Dollar General stores in Wisconsin. DATCP concluded that 76 of those inspections failed to meet the national standard of 98% or greater accuracy. DATCP sent 11 warning letters documenting these issues to Dollar General during this period.
Dollar General has made changes to prevent future violations, including internal price accuracy checks at every store in Wisconsin at least once every 45 days. The retailer reported that it is investing in the improvement of its price accuracy practices in Wisconsin. Dollar General has spent approximately $70,000 to verify price accuracy since learning of the alleged violations in January and expects to spend approximately $300,000 annually to support price accuracy in Wisconsin going forward.
In September, Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey also filed a similar suit against Dollar General, which claims deceptive and unfair pricing at its more than 600 retail stores in that state.
Dollar General provided the following statement to Progressive Grocer regarding the litigation in Missouri: “Dollar General is committed to providing customers with accurate prices on items purchased in our stores, and we are disappointed any time we fail to deliver on this commitment. When a pricing discrepancy is identified, our store teams are empowered to correct the matter on the spot for our customers.”
As of Aug. 4, Goodlettsville, Tenn.-based Dollar General operated 19,488 Dollar General, DG Market, DGX and pOpshelf stores across the United States, and Mi Súper Dollar General stores in Mexico. The company is No. 16 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.