Business & Finance

Auto Parts Chain Fined for Price Discrepencies

NEWARK – Advance Stores Co., which recently opened an Advanced Auto Parts store in Ledgewood, charged customers more than the amount shown on store displays, according to the state Attorney General’s Office.

Although the pricing violations were discovered in 2015, two years before the chain’s Roxbury store on Route 46 opened, Advance Stores agreed to make changes at all its 69 New Jersey stores “to ensure the accuracy of its pricing both at point of display and at the register” said the Attorney General’s Office.

It said the company will also pay more than $69,000 in fines.

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“Prices would be displayed for … items on the store shelves, but different prices would be charged when items were scanned at the register,” according to the Attorney General’s Office. The pricing problem was found at the chain’s stores in East Orange, Newark, Linden, East Brunswick, Bloomfield, Avenel and Fanwood.

“Investigators visited the Advance Stores between Jan. 21 and Feb. 23, 2015, and found that certain merchandise items were priced at as much as $4.84 over what was indicated on the item or at the point of display,” said the state.

In a judgment signed earlier this month, Advance Stores “agreed to ensure the accuracy of its pricing both at point of display and at the register,” said the Attorney General’s Office. “In addition, Advance Stores will implement in its 69 Advance Auto Parts stores throughout New Jersey a monitoring program, in which the company will conduct regular audits of its pricing and keep a log of those audits. The company will also provide its general managers and other employees with training to ensure compliance with its pricing policies. Advance Stores will designate a corporate compliance coordinator to oversee the compliance program.”

The state noted similar pricing practices were discovered at AutoZone, which also has a Roxbury store, and a settlement was reached, in March 2016, that led AutoZone to “revise its business practices.”

The state has a similar action against Pep Boys that is still pending, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

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