Price Chopper, which has stores across upstate, will change the way it advertises and promotes its coupons in New York and pay a $100,000 penalty, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced today.
The agreement came after complaints about misleading coupons issued by the Schenectady-based grocery chain that suggested coupons would be doubled above $1. Schneiderman said that Price Chopper advertised that it accepted double coupons at its stores, but didn’t disclose the restrictions.
“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,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “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.”
Price Chopper limited the doubling of coupons to “up to 99 cents,” but didn’t disclose the restriction in its advertisements, leading consumers to believe that $1 coupons would be doubled, Schneiderman said. Adding to the confusion, Schneiderman said, is that the policy had varied by store.
In April and May 2012, Price Chopper shoppers redeemed nearly 35 million coupons valued at 99 cents or greater, Schneiderman said. About 8 million of the coupons were $1 or more.
The agreement requires Price Chopper to “clearly and conspicuously” disclose any face value limits on coupons, and the $100,000 will be civil penalties and costs to the state, Schneiderman said.
Price Chopper has 79 stores in New York, with locations in the Albany area, Utica, Syracuse, Binghamton, the North Country and the mid-Hudson Valley.
There was no immediate comment from Price Chopper.