Ralphs Grocery Co. will pay more than $1.1 million in civil penalties, costs and restitution to settle allegations that it overcharged customers on deli and other weighed food products and failed to deduct the weight of packaging on those items, City Attorney Carmen Trutanich announced on Thursday.
"During these tough times, shoppers must be protected from misleading and unfair pricing practices, especially when they're buying groceries for their families," Trutanich said. "Ralphs and other big companies will be called out and held accountable when they overcharge and short-weight consumers. The city and our residents will not tolerate such bad corporate behavior."
Without admitting liability, Ralphs agreed to pay $1 million in civil penalties are to be divided evenly, with $500,000 going to the Los Angeles City Attorney and $500,000 to the Los Angeles County District Attorney. It will also pay $13,820 in costs and $100,000 in restitution to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, according to the City Attorney's Office (PDF).
This was not the first time the grocery chain has been accused of unsavory behavior.
In February 2011, the Ralphs Grocery Company entered no contest pleas to 62 criminal counts including false and misleading advertising; unlawful computation of value; selling prepackaged commodities in a lesser quantity than represented; and false labeling, according to the City Attorney's Office.
In May, the chain was ordered to pay nearly $290,000 for shorting customers in Riverside County.
The terms of Thursday's settlement were approved Thursday by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Gregory Alarcon.
Also under the injunctive provisions:
Ralphs released the following statement Thursday:
“We have decided to put this behind us, and we are pleased the investigation is finally complete. We look forward to continuing to serve our customers throughout Southern California.”