CVS: Takes a Licking and Keeps on Overcharging

Analysis of new state data shows that CVS is the still the most penalized retailer in the Commonwealth when it comes to violating state pricing law – and gets caught for illegal
overcharges more than its main national competitors, Walgreens and Rite Aid.

Inspectors with the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation cited CVS for illegal overcharges almost five times more often than the average food retailer last year, according to 2008 data. The inspectors found hundreds of overcharges – defined as charging more at the register than the price in an advertisement, on a shelf sign or on the item itself. And the state imposed over $150,000 in fines on CVS last year for overcharges and other pricing violations.

These numbers suggest the drugstore chain has failed to fix problems with overcharging that the Boston Globe flagged last August based on earlier Consumer Affairs numbers. 

A CVS spokesperson suggested then that the state finds so many overcharges at CVS because the drugstore giant has so many stores in the state – currently 329. However, analysis shows that the state found more overcharges per inspection of CVS stores than at other retailers.

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