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Judge Fines Best Buy Over $600K for False Advertising

The company must also institute a “Get It Free” program.

Best Buy falsely advertised prices and overcharged consumers, a Riverside County judge decided Friday. Now the store must pay $875,000 in fines and costs and must offer discounts to consumers throughout California under limited circumstances.

There are 126 Best Buy stores in California including the Mission Viejo location.

Over the next five years, consumers can cash in under special circumstances. First, you have to be overcharged at checkout. Next, you have to notice and inform the store, which is then required by the judge's decision to give you a $3 discount off the item's lowest advertised price. If the item is less than $3, it's free.

The civil complaint—which was filed on Feb. 21 in Riverside County Superior Court by the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office—alleges that Best Buy stores advertised prices in stores but then actually charged more than the advertised prices. Charging more than the advertised price violates laws prohibiting false advertising as well as unfair competition.

Officials documented overcharges during 206 inspections at 82 Best Buy stores across the state.

This judgment orders that Best Buy not commit future such violations and imposes penalties of $600,000; costs totaling $175,370; and restitution of $100,000. Of the $600,000 in penalties, each of the three prosecutorial offices will receive $200,000.

The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office will also receive another $10,000 in costs.

The company was also ordered, for the next five years, to institute a “Get It Free” program. Consumers will be entitled to get $3 off of the lowest advertised price of an item if they find they have been overcharged at checkout. If the lowest advertised price for the item is $3 or less, the customer will receive the item for free.

DID THE JUDGE MAKE THE RIGHT DECISION? TELL US IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.

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