Mon, Jan 31, 2011 - Page 12 News List

Carrefour fined in China for allegedly overcharging

‘SINCERELY APOLOGIZE’:The French retailer offered refunds of five times the difference between the price that appeared on the label and what was charged

AFP, SHANGHAI

China price regulators are seeking to fine French retail giant Carrefour 2.5 million yuan (US$380,000) — the maximum fine for overcharging customers, state media reported yesterday.

Municipal regulators fined three Carrefour stores in Shanghai and two in Yunnan Province 500,000 yuan each on Saturday, Xinhua news agency reported.

However, the final fine will be decided only after a hearing where regulators said Carrefour representatives would be able to respond to the charges, the report said.

It gave no further details about the hearing.

A total of 11 Carrefour stores were accused of charging more than the price they displayed on products ranging from cotton underwear and tea leaves to rubber gloves, according to reports. Three Wal-Mart stores also face fines for overcharging.

Carrefour “sincerely apologizes” and has offered to refund customers five times the difference between the price charged and that on the label, state media reported last week, citing company officials.

“We will have our special control group conduct internal price inspections, with wide coverage and high frequency,” Carrefour China’s head of public relations, Chen Bo (陳波), was quoted as telling Xinhua.

Local authorities were ordered to fine the Carrefour and Wal-Mart stores for deceptive pricing practices and confiscated their “illegal income,” the National Development and Reform Commission said on its Web site on Wednesday.

Fines should be five times the amount confiscated, or up to 500,000 yuan if the amount cannot be calculated, the statement said.

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