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Rite Aid settles false adverstising lawsuit

By Kari Samuelson, Producer, kari.samuelson@kesq.com
Published On: Oct 10 2012 09:04:04 PM CDT
RIVERSIDE, Calif. -

Rite Aid Corp. and its California subsidiary Thrifty PayLess Inc. will fork over $800,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by Riverside and surrounding counties alleging false advertising and other unlawful business practices by the chain, it was announced today.
      Riverside County will receive $175,000 in penalties from Rite Aid, while
the balance of the funds will be shared among the city and county of San
Diego, as well as Santa Clara and Ventura counties.
      Prosecutors in each of the locations handled the civil action, though
the suit was filed in San Diego.    
      San Diego County Superior Court Judge Ronald Prager today certified the
settlement.
      According to the lawsuit, Rite Aid advertisements during an 18-month
stretch conveyed to consumers that they would pay lower prices for items
purchased using the Rite Aid Wellness-plus Card. The ads touted "It's like
getting it for..." and "It's like paying ..."
      However, once at the register, customers could not purchase the item at
the advertised price. Instead, they got a coupon printed on the end of a
receipt for discounts on a future purchase that would expire and was subject to other restrictions.
      In the settlement, Rite Aid agreed to clearly display the limitations
and all the conditions necessary for customers to purchase items for advertised
prices.
      Also, as part of the settlement, Rite Aid stores will institute a new
system at customer credit card terminals in which the computer will prompt
consumers when gift cards are below $10, and ask if the would like to redeem
the card for cash.
      Over a four-year span, Rite Aid refused to redeem low-balance cards for
cash, according to the suit.
      Prager ordered Rite Aid and Thrifty PayLess not to commit future
violations.
      There are 39 Rite Aid stores in Riverside County.