Movies

Blockbuster fined for overcharging customers

MUMBAI

: Blockbuster Inc. has been told to pay $300,000 to resolve a lawsuit alleging that the video rental chain overcharged some of its customers in California for candy, popcorn, movies and other merchandise. Dallas-based Blockbuster has more than 500 stores in California.

The stipulated judgment that was pronounced on Monday ends a nearly five-year investigation into the way Blockbuster rang up sales in 14 California counties.

The judgment against Blockbuster consists primarily of $237,750 in penalities that will help fund consumer protection programmes in San Diego and Los Angeles counties.

The remaining $62,250 in investigation costs will be divided among 14 counties like San Diego, Los Angeles, Kern, Napa, Sacramento, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara and Stanislaus, Ventura, Riverside, Alameda, Santa Clara, San Mateo and Orange.

The probe found more than 3,800 discrepancies between the final sales price and the prices that had been advertised or posted in the 82 stores where the problems surfaced, said Gina Darvas, a deputy district attorney for San Diego County.

None of the alleged overcharging, however, involved video rentals, Darvas claimed. But inaccurate prices were found on various concessions and movies for sale which led to registering of unfair business practice lawsuit.

"This does not reflect the way we conduct business at our stores," Blockbuster said in a statement. "We have assured the state that we will continue to take the necessary steps to ensure pricing for the products in our stores is accurate."

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