Local shoppers to get $3 price break at Best Buy stores after settlement

Stores accused of charging more than advertised

SAN DIEGO - A false advertising case that rose in San Diego, Los Angeles and Riverside counties has given California shoppers a potential price break at Best Buy stores.

Prosecutors were alerted when weights and measures officials in 16 counties found overcharges during 206 inspections of 82 Best Buy stores statewide, Riverside County prosecutors said.

The settlement means any California customer who is charged more than the lowest advertised price will get a $3 discount from that lowest price.

Any item that retails for less than $3 would be free if overcharged, according to terms of the agreement.

The large electronic chain was charged with ringing up prices that were higher than advertised in an action filed Thursday in Riverside County Superior Court. It was filed by the Riverside County District Attorney's Office, in conjunction with the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office and the San Diego City Attorney's Office.

But a settlement was reached Friday, when a judge ordered the Virginia-based limited partnership to pay more than $875,000 in fines and costs, and to start a new "pricing accuracy program" for the next five years.

The judgment orders that Best Buy not commit such violations in the future and imposed penalties of $600,000, along with court costs of more than $175,000 and restitution of $100,000, according to the Riverside County DA's Office.

Each of the three DA offices will receive $200,000 but Riverside County is set to receive an additional $10,000 in costs, the local DA's Office reported.

There are 126 Best Buy stores in California with five of them located in Riverside County.

Charging more than an advertised price violates laws that prohibit false advertising and unfair competition.

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