Ralphs to Pay Out $38,500 to Settle Overcharging Case

For the second time in two years, Ralphs Grocery Co. has pleaded no contest to criminal counts of overcharging customers at some of its stores and has agreed to pay fines and a penalty.

The charges involved disparities between the posted shelf prices on some products and prices registered at the checkout counter.

The accusations followed inspections by Los Angeles County officials at 10 supermarkets in the San Fernando Valley and central and West Los Angeles. City Atty. Jim Hahn filed the case in April, charging Ralphs and the managers of the 10 stores with 17 counts of false advertising and seven counts of overcharging customers.

In a plea bargain with prosecutors entered in Van Nuys Municipal Court, the supermarket chain agreed to pay a fine of $5,000 and a penalty of $8,500. Ralphs also agreed to donate $20,000 in food to two food banks for the poor and $5,000 in Ralphs gift certificates to be divided among five Los Angeles shelters for battered women.

In exchange, Hahn dropped all but five misdemeanor overcharging counts against the company. He also dismissed all charges against the 10 store managers.

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