Walmart To Face Lawsuit Over Allegedly Deceptive In-Store Pricing

By Reuters
Walmart To Face Lawsuit Over Allegedly Deceptive In-Store Pricing

Walmart must face a lawsuit claiming it often changes higher prices at the checkout than it posts on store shelves, a federal appeals court ruled on Wednesday.

Reversing a lower court judge, the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago said consumers could try to prove in their proposed class action that the conduct of the US retailer was a fraudulent ‘bait-and-switch’ that violated several states’ consumer protection laws.

It also rejected Walmart’s argument that providing receipts after purchases negated any unfairness caused by inaccurate shelf prices.

Circuit Judge David Hamilton wrote for a three-judge panel that it was ‘neither unreasonable nor fanciful’ for consumers to believe Walmart would charge the prices displayed on shelves.

The retailer, based in Bentonville, Arkansas, and its lawyers did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.



Lawyers for the consumers said they found price discrepancies in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey and New York.

It also found discrepancies in North Carolina, even after a regulator there fined Walmart in 2022 for price-scanning errors.

The lawyers said most discrepancies were small – one Walmart in New Jersey charged $3.64 for Crisco Pure Canola Oil versus the $3.12 shelf price, while another charged $2.48 for Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup versus the $2.33 shelf price – but that they quickly added up.

Judge Hamilton said consumers should not have to always keep an eye on prices at the checkout, where there are distractions such as children, tabloids, making payment or bagging their purchases.

He added that it is also not reasonable to force customers to keep track of shelf prices, whether by memory or making a record, as they shop.


The appeals court returned the case to US District Judge Sara Ellis in Chicago, who dismissed it in March 2023.

A lawyer for the plaintiffs, Stanley Bernstein, said, “We are pleased with the opinion and look forward to vindicating the rights of Walmart customers.”

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