David Tomkins, Assistant District Attorney   CONTACT PERSON:
Yen B. Dang, Deputy District Attorney
(408) 792-2818   For release on September 11, 2007   OFFICE DEPOT SETTLES CONSUMER PROTECTION CASE FOR $2.5 MILLION FOR ALLEGED OVERCHARGES OF CALIFORNIA CUSTOMERS   Santa Clara County District Attorney Dolores A. Carr announced today that her office joined with the District Attorneys of Marin, Sonoma, Ventura, Solano, Napa, Shasta, Sacramento, and Los Angeles counties, and the City Attorney of the City of Los Angeles, to settle a consumer protection case filed against Office Depot, Inc. the operator of “Office Depot” stores through California. The initial investigation arose out of inspections of Office Depot’s checkout scanners by state and local Weights and Measures inspectors. The Stipulated Final Judgment was approved by the Santa Clara County Superior Court.   Office Depot cooperated with prosecutors during the investigation and agreed to additional price check programs to enhance its pricing accuracy. Under the terms of the settlement, without admitting any wrongdoing, Office Depot, Inc., agreed to pay $2,300,000 in civil penalties and $285,791 to reimburse costs of investigation. Office Depot will also offer restitution to the public in the form of a coupon good for $5.00 off in-store purchases at California Office Depot stores. The coupon will be prominently placed in an Office Depot Sunday ad circular to be published within the next several months.  Office Depot will also provide a price guarantee of up to $5.00 if, at the time of purchase, a consumer is charged a price that is higher than the lowest advertised price for an item. This price guarantee will be posted in every store in California.    District Attorney Carr acknowledged the efforts of Weights and Measures officials in monitoring retail pricing so that consumers get the correct prices when they shop.  Carr said, “Most scanner overcharges by stores are the result of carelessness or negligence rather than an intentional act.  But businesses must establish procedures and devote resources to promote price accuracy.  Our office brings actions such as this to ensure that businesses comply with their responsibilities.  Consumers should also be vigilant at the cash register to make sure they are charged the correct price for the items they purchase.”   ###

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