Smart Growth for Vernon, CT

Wal-Mart settles pricing case

By Harlan Levy
Journal Inquirer
July 15, 2006

Wal-Mart has agreed to pay Connecticut $37,150 to settle item and per-unit pricing violations at six in-state retail locations, Consumer Protection Commissioner Edwin R. Rodriguez announced on Friday.

Wal-Mart did not admit any wrongdoing.

Consumer Protection agents recently inspected 35 Wal-Mart and/or Sam's Club locations in Connecticut as part of routine economic compliance checks conducted by the agency. Of the 35 inspected stores, six were alleged to have been in violation of unit pricing regulations, and two of these were also cited for item pricing violations.

The affected Wal-Mart stores are in Bristol, New Britain, Norwalk, Southington, and Wallingford, as well as the Sam's Club in Berlin.

"Connecticut's pricing laws are in place to ensure a fundamental marketplace principle — that consumers can make informed purchasing decisions based on cost, quality and convenience," Rodriguez said.

Unit pricing is a term that identifies the true "per-unit" cost of items that are sold in multiple size packages. For example, when comparing the price of a product sold in a larger volume size (such as a gallon of liquid detergent) with a smaller container of the same product, the larger size will usually have a lower per-unit price than the same detergent sold in a smaller size.

Item pricing refers to Connecticut's requirement that stores affix a price to each item of a "consumer commodity," an item that is designed to be "used up," such as a carton of milk, a package of soap, or a roll of plastic wrap.