Eldridge Warns Consumers about CVS Price Violations

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                  05/4/2009

BOSTON – State Senator Jamie Eldridge issued a warning today for constituents about new state data showing a large increase in price violations by CVS stores in the Commonwealth. Eldridge urged consumers to check their CVS drugstore receipts when making a purchase, and asked constituents experiencing problems to notify his office.

“I was alarmed by data suggesting that CVS is regularly and increasingly overcharging customers – and seemingly reluctant to make changes to improve price accuracy,” said Eldridge. “As with any system administered by humans, mistakes will happen.  But excessive and frequent overcharges from any retailer are unacceptable.”

According to data from the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, CVS was cited for illegal overcharges almost five times more often than the average food retailer last year.  Inspectors founds hundreds of overcharges, which are defined as charging more at the register than the price in an advertisement, on a shelf sign, or on the item itself.

“This is a basic matter of consumer protection. During these tough economic times, many consumers can scarcely afford the food and pharmaceutical basics they are purchasing at CVS – much less afford to be overpaying,” continued Eldridge. “It’s the role of the State government to call attention to this problem, and put CVS on notice that they need to change their practices.”

Following inspections, the state imposed over $150,000 in fines on CVS last year for overcharges and other pricing violations – nearly 20 percent of all pricing accuracy fines the state imposed in 2008.

“If constituents have experienced overpricing, I encourage them to contact my office and let us know, so we can get a sense of the extent of the problem,” added Eldridge. Constituents can reach Eldridge at 617-722-1120, or via email at James.Eldridge@state.ma.us. They can also contact Jamie through his website, www.senatoreldridge.com.