Walmart facing class-action lawsuit over ‘deceptive and unfair pricing practices’

(KNWA/KFTA) — Walmart must face a class-action lawsuit over allegations that it engaged in "deceptive and unfair pricing practices" on groceries, a federal appeals court ruled on July 3.

The plaintiff, Yoram Kahn, claims the retail giant has taken advantage of consumers with small price discrepancies that "add up to hundreds of millions of dollars each year."

"Kahn alleges that Walmart is aware of these discrepancies between shelf prices and register prices and that its unfair and deceptive pricing practices are pervasive and continuous," the lawsuit states.

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Kahn said he shopped at a Walmart in Niles, Illinois, on August 2, 2022. Relying on the marked prices on the shelves, he decided what to purchase.

Once he went to check out, Kahn scanned 15 items and later learned the price of six of the 15 items scanned had 10 to 15 percent markups above the shelf prices, the lawsuit claims.

"In total, Kahn paid Walmart $1.89 in overcharges on these six items, nearly seven percent of the pretax total of his bill," the lawsuit states. "Small change for Kahn as an individual, no doubt, but keep in mind the volume of Walmart’s business."

(Photo by Paul Weaver/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

This case was previously dismissed in March 2023 after a judge ruled that Walmart providing a receipt after purchase negated unfairness caused by the inaccuracies in shelf prices.

However, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago recently reversed the lower court judge's ruling and said customers could try to prove Walmart has used a "bait-and-switch" method that violates Illinois' consumer protection laws.

This isn't the first time Walmart has faced legal problems regarding its prices.

In June, Walmart agreed to pay $1.64 million to settle claims by regulations in New Jersey for inconsistent unit pricing, according to a news release from New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin.

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The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs said in a consent decree that the department's investigation showed the 64 stores in the state violated unit pricing regulations by failing to use a standard unit of measurement — such as quart, pound, or per 100 sheets — on groceries and other items.

Earlier this year, Walmart announced its plans to install digital shelf labels in nearly 2,300 by 2026. The new addition will allow employees to update prices through a mobile app and eliminate the need to change paper tags by hand, the company said.

Nexstar's KNWA reached out to Walmart for comment on the lawsuit and is waiting to hear back.

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