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A two month investigation by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster’s office has revealed practices he calls deceiving and appalling. As KSMU’s Scott Harvey reports, Koster has filed suit against Walgreens, saying the company essentially stole from its customers.
“This product from Lipton Tea; normally $3.79, on sale for $1.89. We were charged $3.79,” Koster said.
Inside his Springfield office Tuesday, Attorney General Koster points to diagrams depicting marked-down goods that were sold for their original price at the checkout. It is one of 43 price discrepancies out of purchased products by undercover officials, he says, resulting in overcharges nearly 21 percent of the time.
“We received consumer complains that came in through our hotlines. We also are aware of investigations in the State of California and in the State of Wisconsin that took on Walgreens for this kind of deceptive pricing. And I believe that this is not the last attorney general in the country that’s going to take on this company.”
Investigators visited eight Walgreens locations in Missouri, including Springfield, where all but one had “very significant problems.” There are over 200 Walgreens stores in the state.
Koster ruled out the possibility that this is simply a computer error by Walgreens. He added that while his office would normally reach out to a company before filing the suit, they consider this case to be “so egregious” that they’re asking for an immediate fix.
The lawsuit seeks an injunction prohibiting Walgreens from engaging in alleged deceptive pricing, as well as civil penalties.
In an email to KSMU, James Graham with Walgreens Corporate Media Relations issued the following statement:
"We have a 112-year history of acting in our customers' best interests, and that will continue to be our focus. While we won’t comment on the complaint itself, we were disappointed and disagree with the attorney general's comments. However, we are prepared to have a constructive dialogue about the issues he raised and address any appropriate concerns."