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Lawsuits & Litigation

Federal Appeals Court: Walmart Must Face Unfair Pricing Lawsuit

— July 6, 2024

A federal appeals court has rejected Walmart’s request to dismiss a class-action lawsuit accusing the company of overcharging consumers with “deceptive and unfair pricing practices.”

According to FOX Business, attorneys for plaintiff Yoram Kahn say that Walmart—the world’s largest retailer—regularly attempts to “[take] advantage of consumers in Illinois and nationwide” by either tolerating or encouraging minute discrepancies between what customers see on price tags, and what they pay at the register.

“Walmart is aware of these discrepancies between shelf prices and register prices [as well as the fact that] its unfair and deceptive pricing practices are pervasive and continuous,” the lawsuit alleges.

In his filing, Kahn recalls a trip he had taken to a Niles, IL, Walmart in August of 2022.

Kahn, like most consumers, relied on the prices he saw in-store to keep track of his budget.

Gavel and law books; image by Succo, via
Gavel and law books; image by Succo, via

But when he checked out, Kahn found that “the actual prices” of the six items he purchased had been marked up between “ten to fifteen percent.”

“In total, Kahn paid Walmart $1.89 in overcharges on these six items, nearly seven percent of the total pretax total of his bill,” the lawsuit states. “Small change for Kahn as an individual, no doubt, but keep in mind the volume of Walmart’s business.”

On Wednesday, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals determined that the lawsuit could proceed—overturning a lower court ruling, and saying that consumers should have a chance to prove that Walmart uses or employed “bait-and-switch” tactics in violation of Illinois’ consumer protection statutes.

Walmart, notes FOX Business, recently settled a similar set of claims with New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin.

In his complaint, Platkin argued that Walmart regularly flouted the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act and the New Jersey Unit Pricing Disclosure Act by using inaccurate unit pricing standards for many of its grocery products. Investigations conducted by the state’s Office of Weights and Measures identified more than 2,000 instances wherein incorrect units of measurement were used for similar categories of goods, making it difficult for customers to accurately gauge which products provide better value.

“As the price of grocery items continues to rise, it’s more important than ever to ensure consumers have all the information they need—and are entitled to by law—to make educated decisions on how to spend their money,” Platkin said in a statement announcing the $1.64 million settlement. “The significant fine Walmart will pay as a result of this settlement sends a clear message that New Jersey will not allow retailers to engage in unlawful pricing practices that deny shoppers the ability to easily compare prices.”

Earlier this year, Walmart announced that it would install digital shelf labels in thousands of its stores by 2026—letting employees update price tags using a mobile app, and making it much more likely that consumers will pay the same price at the register that they see on the shelf.


AG Platkin: Walmart Agrees to Pay $1.64 Million Settlement to Resolve Allegations of Unlawful Pricing Practices at Retail Stores Statewide

Walmart facing class-action lawsuit over ‘deceptive and unfair pricing practices’

Walmart must face lawsuit over deceptive pricing, Illinois court rules

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