Walmart, Kroger to pay thousands after Sedgwick County investigation

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Walmart, Dillons' parent company, and a supplier of health and beauty products nationwide have agreed to pay nearly $40,000 after an investigation into Olay soap sold in Sedgwick County.

The district attorney’s office says its Consumer Protection Division investigated sales of Olay brand soap advertised using the words “TWIN PACK Buy 2 & Save” that were more expensive than the single pack displayed next to it.

"The investigation alleged that Sedgwick County Consumers generally spent approximately $0.30-$1.00 more when buying the 'TWIN PACK,' which typically sold for $8.68-$8.99, because the 'TWIN PACK' contained bars of soap approximately 15% smaller than the single pack next to it on the shelf," the DA"s office said in a news release. 

Walmart sold the soap in about 10 stores while Kroger/Dillons sold the soap at approximately 24 stores throughout Sedgwick County. Collectively, over 1,000 twin packs were sold. They were packed by P&GD, a Procter & Gamble Company affiliate, with the intent to solicit customers to buy the product. 

The investigation concluded Walmart, Kroger/Dillons, and P&GD violated the Kansas Consumer Protection Act. In the consent judgment the district attorney’s office alleged the following statutes. 

  • K.S.A. 50-626(b)(2): declares a willful use of exaggeration, falsehood, innuendo or ambiguity as to a material fact to be a deceptive act and practice.
  • K.S.A. 50-627(b)(6): prohibits suppliers from making a misleading statement of opinion on which the consumer is likely to rely to the consumer's detriment, the law considers that unconscionable.

"The three companies agreed to the consent judgment without a trial and acknowledged the purpose of the judgment was to address restitution, specific performance, civil penalties, and investigative expenses for the alleged violations," the release says.

The companies agreed to pay $19,000 in restitution to a charitable organization in Sedgwick County. The DA's office says finding the actual customers would be impractical. 

They also agreed to pay a $19,000 civil penalty along with $1,467 in court costs and investigative expenses.

"The District Attorney reminds residents that no businesses in any industry, large or small, should engage in deceptive or unconscionable advertising. Suppliers must be able to substantiate any claims a supplier makes in advertising their goods, such as 'All Natural,' 'Going out of Business,' 'Made in the USA,' sale or discount pricing. Consumers should be especially vigilant with products making health claims."