DA: Walmart Settles in Consumer Protection Case

July 2, 2012 | 11:56am

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has been ordered to pay costs and penalties in a civil case alleging San Diego customers were misled regarding their status as applicants for the retailer’s credit cards, the District Attorney’s Office announced today.

The company paid $89,000 in penalties and costs to resolve the case, which was filed and approved by Judge William R. Nevitt, Jr. of the San Diego Superior Court. The company did not admit liability.  Earlier this year, Walmart paid $2.1 million in a case brought by California prosecutors for failing to honor Walmart’s “$3 off” overcharge policy.  That policy had been imposed in an additional law enforcement case in brought by California prosecutors in 2004.

“The DA’s Consumer Protection Unit continues to ensure Walmart does not misrepresent their goods and services,” said District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.  “San Diegans who shop at Walmart should be able to rely on what they are told in the store and make decisions based on good information.”

The District Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case on behalf of the People of the State of California. The case stemmed from employee complaints at the La Mesa Walmart store in 2010 and was investigated by the District Attorney’s Office. The investigation revealed employees were misrepresenting to consumers that they had been “preselected” for a Walmart credit card although the consumer had not been prescreened for acceptance. The company also failed to adequately instruct its employees in proper credit card application procedures.

Under the terms of the stipulated judgment, Walmart is required to train employees regarding proper credit card application procedures, and to refrain from misrepresenting a consumer’s status as a credit card applicant.    

Walmart cooperated in the investigation and resolution of the case, the District Attorney’s Office said.