Three Carrefour stores in Shanghai fined for overcharging

08:27, January 30, 2011      

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Three Carrefour stores were fined 500,000 yuan (75,988 U.S. dollars) each on Saturday for overcharging customers in east China's metropolitan Shanghai, said municipal price regulators.

The fine is the highest for such wrongdoing, with the tickets being issued Saturday morning.

The three stores were also ordered to correct their illegal pricing and refund overcharged customers, said the regulators.

A hearing will be held to decide the final amount of the fine. Carrefour representatives will be able to respond to the charges at the hearing, according to regulators.

China's price regulator announced last week that it had found several retailers cheating customers, which included 11 of Carrefour's China stores.

Carrefour China promised customers Saturday that it would provide refunds of five times the difference between advertised prices and incorrect prices charged at registers, after it was blacklisted by Chinese authorities due to deceptive pricing.

Chen Bo, spokesperson with Carrefour China, apologized to Chinese customers during an exclusive interview with Xinhua.

Chen said the company has started to work on this pricing issue.

Carrefour China has established both short-term and long-term measures to resolve the issue, Chen added.

"We will have our special control group conduct internal price inspections, with wide coverage and high frequency," Chen said.

Chen said the refund policy would be permanently implemented at Carrefour's 182 outlets in China, with non-implementation of the policy being regarded as a violation of company rules.

The National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planner, also urged authorities to step up price checks ahead of the Spring Festival, which falls on Feb. 3 this year.

The Spring Festival holiday is usually the busiest shopping season, as the public makes large purchases of food and gifts for families and friends.

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