UPDATE: The San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office says a settlement has been reached between its office and Walmart.
The district attorney’s office reports the retail giant has agreed to pay $9,000 for violating the Business and Professions Code.
The DA’s Office says its Consumer Protection Unit began investigating claims of increased prices on disinfecting wipes last year.
“After being contacted by San Luis Obispo District Attorney's Office, Walmart removed the item from its online platform and provided a 100% refund to not only the sales within San Luis Obispo County, but throughout the State of California,” according to a press release.
The settlement in the civil case was reportedly approved Friday by a San Luis Obispo County Superior Court Judge.
Walmart provided the following statement: “We took action when this pricing matter came to our attention. We are pleased we could resolve this with the San Luis Obispo District Attorney’s office.”
ORIGINAL STORY: The State of California is suing one national retail corporation over allegations the company marked up disinfecting wipes on its website during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The lawsuit filed Thursday in San Luis Obispo County Superior Court claims Walmart upped the price of the wipes more than 50 percent through sales on its website in San Luis Obispo County.
Disinfecting wipes were classified as emergency and medical supplies, which, under an executive order from the governor’s office in April 2020, were prohibited from being marked up by more than 50 percent of what the business paid for them.
The complaint against Walmart alleges Caresour W-075 75% Alcohol disinfecting wipes (50-pack) were sold to six separate households between May 26 and June 22, 2020 in San Luis Obispo County for between $18.99 and $19.99, which, according to the complaint, was above the 50% allowed markup.
“After being contacted by San Luis Obispo District Attorney's Office, Defendant removed the item from its online platform and provided a 100% refund to not only the sales within San Luis Obispo County, but throughout the State of California. Defendant represents the violations resulted from an internal error and contends the error 22 has been corrected,” the complaint states.
The complaint says the state is seeking, among other things, a $1,500 civil penalty against the retail giant and reimbursement of $7,500 for costs incurred by the state to investigate the claims.
Walmart sent the following response to KSBY on Friday:
"At this time, we have not received the complaint and do not know if these claims are related to products sold from Walmart or from third parties on the Marketplace. We take these matters seriously and will respond as appropriate with the court once we have been served with the complaint."