Vermont slaps Dollar General $1.7M for pricing errors

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BARRE, Vt. (WCAX) Dollar General is paying Vermont $1.7 million dollars as part of a settlement under the state's Consumer Protection Act.

Attorney General T.J. Donovan says the company repeatedly violated consumer protection laws by advertising prices on store shelves and then charging more at the register.

The Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets conducts random inspections to ensure pricing accuracy. Officials say price differences at Dollar General stores ranged from two cents to six dollars.

Donovan says there were violations at 22 different stores. There are a total of 36 stores in Vermont. "Inspectors found 362 instances where the shelf or label price was less than the price at the register. The problem was widespread around Vermont," he said.

The price differences ranged from two cents to $6. Donovan says the Vermont Food Bank will receive $100,000 of the settlement money.

Donovan says Dollar General paid nearly a quarter-million dollars in administrative penalties in recent years but did not correct problems, so his office enforced the law under the Consumer Protection Act.

Dollar General officials said in a statement that they strive to provide pricing accuracy. "Where a pricing anomaly is identified, Dollar General takes prompt action to address and correct the situation," they said. "Although we do not necessarily agree with all of the statements made by the Vermont Attorney General’s office, we have appreciated their constructive approach to resolving this matter."