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BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. was hit with a consumer-fraud lawsuit in Arizona late last week, as the state's attorney general Terry Goddard accused the retailer of consistently failing to list accurate prices on its shelves. Auto parts retailer AutoZone was named in a similar lawsuit.
Arizona law requires that retailers make prices visible for consumers.
In the lawsuit, Goddard asked for civil penalties of $10,000 per violation. He did not give an estimate of the number of violations, but according to published reports, the penalties could reach into the millions.
Inspectors from the state Department of Weights and Measures routinely take samples of 250 products to make sure prices are posted, and samples of 50 items to make sure they are properly marked. Stores must be at least 98 percent in compliance or they fail. If they fail, they are subject to re-inspections within 60 days.
Figures from the Department of Weights and Measures reveal that since 2001, Wal-Mart has failed 526 of 976 inspections at various stores across the state. Wal-Mart has 70 stores in Arizona.
Wal-Mart has already been fined $450,000 for violations, according to Goddard.
Wal-Mart's pricing practices have also been investigated in Michigan and Connecticut.