LOS ANGELES - PetSmart will pay $1.46 million to settle a lawsuit filed by prosecutors in Los Angeles and other California counties alleging the retailer overcharged customers for items that were advertised for lower prices, it was announced Thursday.
According to the Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón's Office, PetSmart admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement, but it will pay $1.25 million in penalties, $100,000 in restitution to support future enforcement of consumer protection laws and $110,000 in investigative costs.
The company is also barred from engaging in false or misleading advertising, or from charging an amount higher than the lowest advertised price for an item. It will also have to implement additional audit and price-accuracy procedures in stores over a three-year period.
"Charging customers prices higher than what was advertised is misleading and unfair," District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement. "Customers have the right to expect that the prices they see advertised will be honored. It's important for companies to adhere to advertising regulations and ensure transparency in their pricing practices."
The lawsuit was filed in Santa Cruz County. Prosecutors in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Diego and Ventura counties also took part in the lawsuit.