COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and Dollar General have reached an agreement that averts a temporary restraining order sought by Yost against the Tennessee-based retailer over allegations of deceptive pricing.
“This is just a step in the process,” Yost said. “Litigation is not over, but this is a step in the right direction.”
Multiple county auditors in Ohio, as part of their regular duties, have inspected Dollar General stores and found that many of the prices displayed on the shelves did not match the prices charged at the checkout. Even after Yost sued the company on Nov. 1, some of the same stores continued to charge more than the prices advertised.
The stipulated order, reached this week in Butler County Common Pleas Court, outlines the terms and conditions that Dollar General must implement. In general, they require Dollar General to take steps to ensure that shelf prices match the charged prices.
As a matter of policy, employees will be required to charge a product’s shelf price if customers contend that they are being charged more at checkout. And, in cases when a price override is necessary, the store will take steps to correct the discrepancy.
Additionally, the company is required to educate all employees about the policy and to post signs in its Ohio stores informing customers of the policy.
Among other things, the order also:
• Requires district managers to perform price checks for at least 25 items in each Ohio store every 45 days. If more than five items show discrepancies, the corporate office must be notified.
• Requires Dollar General stores to notify the corporate office in the event that a price verification report conducted by a county auditor indicates a fail rate of more than 2%. Notification must occur within two days and discrepancies must then be corrected.
The stipulated order does not constitute an admission of liability on the part of Dollar General or an admission that a discrepancy exists between shelf prices and charged prices in any particular instance.
Ohioans who suspect unfair business practices should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioProtects.org or 800-282-0515.