A San Diego prosecutor says Target’s mobile phone app raises the prices of “sale” items once customers enter physical stores.
Target agreed to pay $5 million to settle a lawsuit alleging the retail chain was overcharging consumers by advertising low prices on its mobile phone apps and then changing them once customers entered the store .
According to The Minneapolis Star Tribunethe lawsuit was filed by the San Diego District Attorney’s Office in February.
The trial, adds the Star Tribunewas officially settled in March.
However, this wasn’t the first time the San Diego district attorney filed a lawsuit against Target. In 2018, the store paid $7.4 million to settle allegations that it violated California hazardous waste handling and disposal laws.
“With this latest lawsuit, we continue to protect consumers and their hard-earned money, while ensuring Target is held accountable when it breaks the law,” San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said in a statement. A press release.
the Star Tribune notes that Stephan’s lawsuit criticized Target’s use of geofencing, a form of GPS-based technology that lets companies know when mobile app users have entered or left a designated area.
San Diego Assistant District Attorney Steve Spinella told KARE-11 that the district attorney’s office opened its investigation after seeing a KARE-11 news report about Target app pricing.
“We learned of your news report which showed changes to the app based on location,” Spinella said at the time. “We conducted our own independent investigation to see if this was also happening in California.”
In their lawsuit, San Diego prosecutors said Target failed to tell consumers that some of its low-cost deals were only available online and that the mobile app would change prices if and when they entered. at physical Target stores.
Target will now pay $5 million to settle the claim.
The company also said it will no longer use geofencing technologies to increase the price of items when consumers visit physical outlets.
Target must also clearly define its prices, informing consumers where special prices are available and if there are any differences between in-person and online purchases.
In a statement, the San Diego attorney’s office said Target has been cooperating with investigators and taking steps to improve the accuracy of its pricing.
Target, for its part, said it does not currently use geofencing to change prices and offers.
“Target is committed to delivering value to our customers, and that includes accurate pricing in our stores and online,” Target said in a statement. “We took steps to improve our processes because the majority of these issues in California were occurring when promotional signs were not removed immediately after a promotion ended. If customers have questions, they can bring their receipt to the customer service desk to discuss a price adjustment.