Walmart settles Yolo price-gouging case

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Walmart will pay out more than $80,000 to settle a Yolo County lawsuit alleging the retail giant engaged in price-gouging in violation of a statewide order issued at the outset of the Covid pandemic, the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office announced this week. 

Of that amount, $10,200 will go to the Yolo Food Bank, a food distribution service that feeds tens of thousands of the county’s most vulnerable residents.

Yolo Superior Court Judge Samuel McAdam entered a judgment settling the case on Dec. 17, 2021, two months after its filing by the DA’s Consumer Fraud and Environmental Protection Unit. 

The lawsuit alleged Walmart engaged in sales violating California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s April 4, 2020, executive order on April 4, 2020, prohibiting the sale of certain goods   — including eggs — at a price greater than 10 percent above what the seller charged two months earlier, 

“Shortly after the governor’s order, the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office received a consumer complaint regarding egg pricing at a Walmart location in Yolo County,” prosecutors said in a news release. The complaint centered on Walmart’s Great Value egg brand. 

According to the lawsuit, investigations conducted during the spring and summer of 2020 found that Yolo County’s four Walmart stores “sold its products at prices that exceeded the limitations” imposed by Newsom’s mandate.

Walmart, which did not admit wrongdoing and cooperated with the investigation, later corrected its pricing structure and agreed to pay $70,798 in civil penalties and investigation reimbursement costs. 

“Walmart also agreed to pay $10,200 to the Yolo Food Bank to support its mission to advance the quality of life of vulnerable county residents by elevating food security,” the news release said. 

District Attorney Jeff Reisig noted that his office’s investigation of the consumer complaint “allowed for open communication with Walmart’s team.”

“Our office is proud that communications with Walmart remained professional and constructive, that price discrepancies were corrected, and the Yolo Food Bank will have additional funds to support its mission,” Reisig said. 

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