Price Chopper agrees to change ‘deceptive’ coupon practices, pay $100,000 fine
Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - 2:57 pm

Price Chopper, which has five supermarkets in St. Lawrence County, will change the way it advertises and promotes its coupons in New York State and pay a $100,000 penalty under an agreement reached with the state.

The agreement stems from an investigation by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office, started after they received complaints about coupons issued by Price Chopper that were misleading and failed to disclose restrictions.

The changes to the grocer’s advertising practices will help shoppers make informed decisions about purchases, a news release from Schneiderman’s office said.

Price Chopper has 79 stores in New York, including Canton, Potsdam, Gouverneur, Massena and Ogdensburg.

“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,” said Schneiderman.

The investigation revealed that Price Chopper advertised that it accepted double coupons at its store locations without disclosing important restrictions that applied to that policy.

“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,” Schneiderman said. “Today’s agreement ensures that consumers will be protected from misleading advertising at these stores in the future.”

After implementing a corporate-wide policy that limited the doubling of coupons “up to 99 cents,” Price Chopper failed to disclose this restriction in its advertisements leading consumers to believe that $1 coupons would be doubled. Prior to this corporate policy, Price Chopper’s double coupon policies had previously varied from store to store. A number of stores doubled coupons up to $1 whereas others restricted the face value of coupons that could be doubled.

Under the terms of the agreement announced today, Price Chopper is required to clearly and conspicuously disclose any face value limits on coupon redemption.

In addition to changing advertising practices, Price Chopper agreed to pay $100,000 in civil penalties and costs to the state.