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December 8, 2004
 Eda Suh, Deputy City Attorney, (310) 458-88327

The Santa Monica City Attorney's Consumer Protection Unit has filed misdemeanor charges against six stores for charging more than the posted price on items in their stores. Each store is accused of charging at least $1.00 higher than the posted price on one or more items in a random inspection by Los Angeles County inspectors.

The following stores are accused of overcharging: 

  • Borders:   2 out of 8 items overcharged; total overcharge = $12.48

  • Bebe:   1 out of 4 items overcharged; total overcharge = $21.00

  • Carlton Cards (American Greetings Corporation):   1 out of 7 items overcharged; total overcharge = $9.74 

  • Video and Audio Center (M and J Mayer, Inc.):   1 out of 5 items overcharged; total overcharge = $2.00 

  • Second Spin (Record Town, Inc.):   1 out of 7 items overcharged; total overcharge = $2.00 

  • Gap:  1 out of 7 items were overcharged; total overcharge = $7.00

The charges were filed under Business and Professions Code Section 12024.2, which makes it a crime for businesses to charge more than the posted price. Each violation carries a maximum fine of $1,000.00.  Also, under L.A. County ordinance, each store that violates the law must post a notice of violation in its window for 60 days.

"It's unfortunate that it was only last year that Bebe, Carlton Cards, and the Gap were convicted of the exact same charges, and they still can't pass inspection," said Deputy City Attorney Eda Suh.  Borders has also been previously cited in Santa Monica and in other cities in the Los Angeles County, for similar violations.

"During the holiday season, retailers get creative in how they attract consumers into their stores and get them to buy.  Sales and mark downs last for a week, a day, or even hours; an item can be marked one price in the morning, and another in the afternoon," explained Suh.  "Also, shoppers are under pressure to buy a lot in a short period of time. These random inspections show that stores don't always charge the prices posted in the stores.  It is really important that consumers check their receipts, especially during the holiday season."

The six stores are scheduled to be arraigned today in the Airport Superior Court.

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