Sacramento County District Attorney Jan Scully announced that in conjunction with the District Attorneys of Napa, Fresno, Santa Cruz, Solano, and Marin counties, a settlement was reached in a consumer protection case filed earlier this month against Safeway, Inc. The case, which was filed in the Napa County Superior Court, arose out of complaints that Safeway failed to get proper remodeling and hot food station permits required by city, county, state, and federal laws. The investigation also encompassed pricing and weighing accuracy issues throughout the state.
Without admitting any wrongdoing, Safeway, Inc. agreed to pay $2.7 million for construction violations and pricing inaccuracy. Of the $2.7 million, $2.3 million will go toward civil penalties, $289,551.57 will go toward reimbursement for the cost of investigation, and $200,000 will go to enhance governmental enforcement of construction, pricing, and weighing cases.
Of the $412,493 awarded to Sacramento County, $400,000 will go to the Sacramento County District Attorney’s office to be used to continue to combat consumer fraud. Pursuant to the settlement, the remainder will be distributed to the City of Sacramento Building Department, Sacramento County Department of Weights & Measures, and Sacramento County Environmental Management Department to reimburse them for their costs in providing assistance with the investigation. District Attorney Jan Scully acknowledged the efforts of these agencies in investigating and monitoring the construction, weighing, and retail pricing aspects of the case.
Safeway cooperated with prosecutors during the investigation and agreed to take steps to assure it is always in compliance with state and local construction requirements. Safeway has also agreed to implement programs aimed at improving its pricing and weighing accuracy, including a price guarantee of up to $5.00 if, at the time of purchase, a consumer is charged a price that is higher than Safeway’s lowest advertised price for an item. This price guarantee will be posted in every store in California.
Deputy District Attorney Ruth Young said, ‘This settlement is a great example of how District Attorney Offices and local agencies work together to benefit and protect California consumers.’