Riverside County District Attorney Paul Zellerbach announced today, May 1, 2012, that a Riverside County judge has ordered Kroger and Ralphs to pay a civil judgment of nearly $300,000 involving the sales of frozen dairy dessert products and inaccurate unit pricing.
The Kroger Co. and Ralphs Grocery Company, both Ohio-based corporations, agreed to a judgment that includes civil penalties of $102,000 regarding frozen dairy dessert sales and another $88,386 pertaining to inaccurate unit pricing. The companies will also pay nearly $50,000 in investigative costs to several state and local agencies, including $10,000 to the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office. Because the identification of actual consumers who may have suffered a monetary loss is impractical, the judgment orders the companies to pay $50,000 in restitution to the Second Harvest Food Bank to be used solely to provide food and personal care items to various shelters and charitable organizations.
In 2009, Kroger produced and distributed, and Ralphs offered for sale and sold, several flavors of Frozen Dairy Dessert. Following a consumer complaint, state and local weights and measures officials found that both Kroger and Ralphs brands of the product were short volume ranging from 6.34 percent to 15.02 percent. Six different flavors were ordered removed from sale for being less than the quantity represented.
In 2010, inspections by state and local weights and measures officials revealed that Ralphs stores were not accurately advertising unit prices on various products throughout its stores. Unit prices allow consumers to accurately compare product values. The judgment mandates that Ralphs designate a Pricing Integrity Coordinator for each of its stores whose duties include verifying the accuracy of information on shelf tags.
The injunction covers all 30 Ralphs and Food 4 Less stores in Riverside County. Ralphs owns Food 4 Less stores.
Consumers who believe they may have been overcharged by any company are encouraged to contact their local Weights and Measures office. Contact information and citizen complaint forms can be found at www.rivcoag.org
The Stipulated Final Judgment and Permanent Injunction were signed on April 24, 2012, by Riverside County Superior Court Judge Gloria Trask and filed with the court on April 27, 2012. --Riverside County District Attorney's Office