A proposed class action lawsuit out of Florida challenges Walmart’s alleged practice of systematically overcharging consumers for beef, pork, poultry, fish, and other types of packaged goods sold with unit pricing. According to the 16-page complaint, Walmart, Inc., since at least February 2015, has advertised false unit prices for meat and fish products, referred to in the lawsuit as “weighted goods,” that are placed on sale close to their respective expiration dates.
The lawsuit says that upon closer inspection of Walmart’s weighted goods, the products’ final sale prices “did not coincide with the unit sale prices based on the weight of the products as represented” on their original labels. As a result, according to the case, consumers have been deprived of the value they were promised upon purchasing the products. An example described in the complaint depicts the specifics of Walmart’s alleged price switch-up:
“For example, on November 18, 2018, Walmart sold a package of chicken tenders that weighed 1.18 pounds, at a unit price of $5.78 per pound, that originally retailed for $6.82. Walmart provided this information on the original label of the chicken tenders. As the product’s expiration date approached, Walmart reduced the unit sale price to $3.77 per pound, which should have resulted in a reduced sale price of $4.45. Instead, the sale price was $5.93, which Walmart charged upon checkout. As a result, Walmart obtained $1.48 (i.e., the difference between $5.93 and $4.45) more than what was justified by the unit sale price. Based upon the unit sale price, a reasonable consumer would have expected to receive 1.57 pounds of chicken tenders, but instead only received 1.18 pounds.”
Consumers, the suit argues, often rely on an item’s unit price in addition to its overall price in order to make informed purchasing decisions. According to the lawsuit, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires retailers who offer price comparisons to be “genuine and truthful” in doing so.
“Walmart, however, fails to comply with this FTC guideline,” the case reads. “Instead, Walmart employs deceptive and unfair practices to deceive customers into paying artificially inflated prices for goods that Walmart places on sale. These goods include all Weighted Goods.”
The lawsuit looks to cover a proposed class of consumers who bought any of the aforementioned weighted goods with a unit sale price that was not accurately reflected in the final sales price from Walmart in Florida at any time between February 13, 2015, and the present.