Los Angeles Business Journal

Ralphs Settles Pricing Suit

By Bethany Firnhaber Originally published September 27, 2012 at 2:40 p.m., updated September 27, 2012 at 3:05 p.m.

Ralphs Grocery Co. agreed to pay more than $1.1 million in a settlement with the City of Los Angeles Thursday for overcharging customers for food at deli counters and in other instances where the price of food is determined by its weight.

The City Attorney’s Office said that settlement comes as a result of an investigation that the L.A. Department of Weights and Measures began in 2010. Inspectors visited various Ralphs stores throughout the city and discovered that the grocery company repeatedly charged customers more than the price posted, as well as selling smaller quantities than was advertised. The stores also frequently failed to deduct the weight of food packaging for deli items, including ice weight on seafood items.

Without admitting liability, the Compton grocery chain agreed to pay $1 million in civil penalties, $13,822 in costs, and $100,000 in restitution to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.

Ralphs also agreed to set up and maintain a pricing compliance program for four years to ensure pricing accuracy for weighted foods.

Ralphs spokeswoman Kendra Doyel said that the settlement was a strategic business decision, not an admission of wrong-doing.

“Ralphs continues to assert that the underlying violations that lead to the investigation were inadvertent and unintentional." Doval said in a statement. “Ralphs made the business decision to settle this matter.”