General Merchandise/HBC

Dollar General, Ohio AG Reach Agreement

Deal averts temporary restraining order, but litigation over pricing discrepancies ‘is not over’
dollar general
Photograph: Shutterstock

Dollar General reached an agreement with Ohio’s attorney general this week that averts the temporary restraining order filed against the discounter last month over pricing discrepancies at its stores.

Under the terms of the agreement, Dollar General must work to ensure that the prices on its shelves in the state match those rung up at the register, according to an order filed in the Butler County Court of Common Pleas.

Going forward, Dollar General employees must charge a product’s shelf price if a customer notices they have been charged more at checkout. The company is also required to educate all employees about the policy and post signs in its Ohio stores letting customers know about it.

The agreement also requires district managers to perform price checks for at least 25 items in each Ohio Dollar General every 45 days. If more than five items show pricing discrepancies, the corporate office must be notified.

Dollar General stores must notify the corporate office if a price verification report conducted by a county auditor determines a fail rate of more than 2%, the agreement said.

Dollar General has completed a price verification review at nearly all of its Ohio locations, the order said.

“This is just a step in the process,” Ohio AG Dave Yost said in a statement. “Litigation is not over, but this is a step in the right direction.”

The agreement does not constitute an admission of liability on Dollar General’s part, but the retailer said in a statement to WGB on Friday that it is “committed to providing customers with accurate prices on items purchased in our stores.”

“We are disappointed any time we fail to delivery on this commitment,” Dollar General added. “When a pricing discrepancy is identified, our store teams are empowered to correct the matter on the spot for our customers.”

Goodlettsville, Tennessee-based Dollar General operates more than 500 stores in Ohio and 19,000 locations in 47 states around the country.

In October, the Ohio Department of Agriculture began an investigation into the company after investigators found that many items were ringing up higher at the cash register than the price listed on the shelf. At some stores, nearly 88% of items were more expensive upon checkout than the originally stated price.

Butler County Auditor Roger Reynolds at the time said the results of store audits had been “very bad.”

“This is a serious problem,” Reynolds said last fall. “A customer could be charged substantially more than the listed shelf price and that amounts to a form of consumer fraud. During these inflationary times, people turn to stores like these to get some bargains. Instead, in too many instances, they are being overcharged.”

This story originally appeared inWinsight Grocery Business.

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