Wausau Pilot & Review

Dollar General Corporation will pay more than $850,000 to settle alleged violations of Wisconsin’s price accuracy and refund policy disclosure laws, according to a release Monday from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

The major settlement resolves hundreds of alleged violations. Dollar General does not admit to violating state law as per the terms of the agreement.

DATCP conducted price verification inspections at 238 Dollar General stores in Wisconsin between January 30 and February 10, 2023. Investigators checked thousands of products sold by Dollar General to ensure that prices charged at the register matched, or were lower than, prices posted on store shelves. Of these items, DATCP alleged that 662 scanned at a higher price than was posted, resulting in customers being overcharged for 9% of the inspected products. On average, these products scanned at a 17% higher cost than the stated price.

If a customer is overcharged for an item, Wisconsin law requires that merchants using electronic price scanner systems refund at least the difference between the posted price and the price charged at point of sale. These merchants are legally required to inform customers of this law by posting a sign in a conspicuous manner; however, DATCP alleged that Dollar General stores were missing this required signage at 45 stores during the initial inspection, and at 8 stores upon re-inspection.

“The accuracy of prices on store shelves is among the most basic and essential protections consumers have,” said DATCP Secretary Randy Romanski. “Consumers should be able to trust that the prices advertised to them are accurate, and they have a right to be informed of the laws protecting them.”

These inspections follow a 2018 settlement wherein Dollar General paid $10,586.50 for similar alleged violations. Between that settlement and the 2023 statewide inspection, 89 routine price accuracy inspections were conducted at Dollar General stores in Wisconsin. DATCP concluded 76 of those inspections failed to meet the national standard of 98% or greater accuracy. DATCP sent 11 warning letters documenting these issues to Dollar General during this period.

Dollar General Corporation has made changes to prevent future violations, including internal price accuracy checks at every store in Wisconsin at least once every 45 days, state officials say.