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Kroger-owned Ralphs Grocery Co. said yesterday that it will spend $1.1 million to resolve an investigation into accusations that it was overcharging customers. Ralphs will pay $1 million to the offices of the district attorney and city attorney and $100,000 to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, but continues to maintain that this is a business decision, with no admission of guilt or liability.

According to the Los Angeles Business Journal, "the City Attorney’s Office said that settlement comes as a result of an investigation that the L.A. Department of Weights and Measures began in 2010. Inspectors visited various Ralphs stores throughout the city and discovered that the grocery company repeatedly charged customers more than the price posted, as well as selling smaller quantities than was advertised. The stores also frequently failed to deduct the weight of food packaging for deli items, including ice weight on seafood items."

In a statement released by the company, Ralphs said, in part:

"After an almost 3-year-old investigation regarding allegations occurring in 2009 it found what we already knew. Ralphs is industry-leading and will continue to be when it comes to providing our customers accurate pricing and precise labeling. We take these matters very seriously and any inadvertent discrepancies were corrected immediately for our customers ... As a judge noted back in 2010, even at that time, Ralphs had 99% accuracy on labeling and weighing its goods as well as an impressive Weights and Measures and Price Integrity program in all our stores. Clearly, there is nothing misleading nor unfair to Ralphs' pricing. Ralphs has continued to improve in this area."
KC's View:
Ralphs also notes in its statement that "each Ralphs Grocery Store has approximately 50,000 individual items, with 9,000 price changes each week." Based on that, it is amazing that more mistakes are not made.