A Riverside County judge ordered Best Buy Stores on Friday to pay $875,370 in fines and costs as well as to institute a new “Get It Free” program to settle a consumer protection case.
There are 126 Best Buy stores in California, five of which are in Riverside County.
The civil complaint—which was filed on Feb. 21 in Riverside County Superior Court by the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office—alleges that Best Buy stores advertised prices in stores but then actually charged more than the advertised prices. Charging more than the advertised price violates laws prohibiting false advertising as well as unfair competition.
Officials documented overcharges during 206 inspections of 82 Best Buy stores across the state.
This judgment orders that Best Buy not commit future such violations and imposes penalties of $600,000; costs totaling $175,370; and restitution of $100,000. Of the $600,000 in penalties, each of the three prosecutorial offices will receive $200,000.
The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office will also receive another $10,000 in costs.
The company was also ordered, for the next five years, to institute a “Get It Free” program. Consumers will be entitled to get $3 off of the lowest advertised price of an item if they find they have been overcharged at checkout. If the lowest advertised price for the item is $3 or less, the customer will receive the item for free.