ALBANY, N.Y. (Legal Newsline) -- Grocery store chain Price Chopper fired back at New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman over claims that it used misleading advertising practices when promoting its coupons and failed to disclose coupon restrictions.
"We were appalled and disappointed by the inflammatory press release distributed earlier today by the New York State Office of the Attorney General, as its portrayal of Price Chopper's conduct is false, misleading and inaccurate in significant respects, and is not supported by the Assurance of Discontinuance (AOD) to which Price Chopper agreed," the company said in a statement late Tuesday.
Price Chopper said -- contrary to Schneiderman's press release -- the AOD makes no assertion that it acted intentionally to harm customers or that its practices caused any losses, let alone millions of lost savings to its customers.
"We've been in direct contact with the OAG to express our concerns and are awaiting their response," the company said.
According to Schneiderman's office, under the terms of an agreement, Price Chopper will change its advertising practices, "clearly and conspicuously" disclose any face value limits on coupon redemption, and pay the state a $100,000 penalty.
"In the current economy, it is more important than ever that consumers be presented with clear information about the terms and conditions of coupons and other sale offers," the attorney general said Tuesday.
"Price Chopper used deceptive business practices to mislead price-conscious consumers and extract hard-earned money from them by hindering their ability to shop competitively and save on groceries. Today's agreement ensures that consumers will be protected from misleading advertising at these stores in the future."
According to the Attorney General's Office, the grocery store chain implemented a corporate-wide policy to limit the doubling of coupons up to 99 cents and allegedly failed to disclose the restriction in its advertisements leading consumers to believe that $1 coupons could be doubled.
Before the company wide change, the double coupon policy varied from store to store.
Schneiderman said the agreement will help New York shoppers on a budget make informed decisions about purchases.
"What the OAG actually asserts in the AOD is that Price Chopper inconsistently denoted in its advertising the dollar value limit of its double coupon policy during select weeks in June 2011, January 2012 and April 2012 in Syracuse and Cortland, N.Y.," the company countered.
"Our decision to sign this agreement was reached after considering the likely cost of alternative actions, and because settling the matter will allow us to focus on serving our customers, including offering double coupons up to 99 cents in all 130 of our stores."
Price Chopper has 79 stores in New York.
From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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