SAN DIEGO–The District Attorney’s Office together with the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office and weights and measures officials announced today that a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge ordered toy retailer Toys “R” Us to pay a $178,730 to resolve a consumer case involving stores in San Diego and Los Angeles.
Toys “R” Us is a Delaware-based corporation, which owns and operates Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us chains in California. The civil complaint, to be filed in Los Angeles Superior Court under California’s false advertising and unfair competition laws, alleges pricing errors at check stands in Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us stores in Los Angeles and San Diego counties and other locations in the state.
“Our Consumer Unit worked closely with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office to hold Toys “R” Us accountable and protect the consumer,” DA Dumanis said. “Law enforcement has a duty to make sure businesses follow the law, compete fairly in the marketplace, and charge the prices they advertise.”
Pricing accuracy inspections conducted by county and state weights and measures agencies between late 2009 and mid-2012 revealed a significant pattern of inaccuracies in the check stand prices charged at many Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us stores in California, including a number of the 10 stores in San Diego County and 30 stores in Los Angeles County. A total of 4,167 items were purchased in these inspections, with overcharges occurring in 5 percent of all purchases. Higher percentage errors were found in selected areas and stores, despite a pricing compliance program that Toys “R” Us had implemented.
Under the terms of the settlement, entered without admission of liability, Toys “R” Us-Delaware, Inc., is enjoined to fully comply with California’s pricing accuracy and false advertising laws, and must implement an additional internal compliance program with annual reporting to the Los Angeles and San Diego District Attorneys’ Offices. In the settlement Toys “R” Us has also agreed to pay agency investigative costs of $28,730 (including $3,962 to the San Diego County Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures) and civil penalties totaling $150,000 to be divided equally among the two prosecuting counties.
The stipulated final judgment in this case was signed today by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Ernest Hiroshige.
The case was handled for the San Diego District Attorney’s Office by Deputy District Attorney, Tom Papageorge, who leads the Consumer Protection Unit. Consumer protection lawsuits are funded entirely by civil penalties and costs recovered in these types of cases. Proposition 64 requires that all the monies recovered in consumer cases be used “exclusively for the enforcement of the consumer protection laws.”