A Riverside County judge ordered Best Buy stores on Friday to pay $875,370 in fines and costs, as well as institute a new "Get It Free" program to settle a consumer protection case, court officials said.
The 126 Best Buy stores in California include the one west of Tippecanoe, just north of the 10 Freeway and Loma Linda.
The civil complaint - which was filed on Feb. 21 in Riverside County Superior Court by the Riverside County District Attorney's Office, in conjunction with the Los Angeles and San Diego D.A.'s offices - 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," Riverside District Attorney's office spokesman John Hall said.
Officials documented overcharges during 206 inspections at 82 Best Buy stores across the state, according to Hall.
Hall said the judgement includes the following penalties for Best Buy:
- Penalties of $600,000 (to be divided between each of the three prosecutorial offices evenly)
- Costs of $175,370
- Restitution of $100,000
- Additional $10,000 in costs to the Riverside County DA's office
The company was also ordered to institute a "Get It Free" program for the next five years, according to Hall. Here's how it works is:
- 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.
The Redlands-Loma Linda area Best Buy is at 888 Harriman Place, San Bernardino. For store hours call (909) 885-4049.