Avanza stores that marketed primarily to Latino customers admitted in court
on Friday, August 13, 2010 that it cheated its customers by charging them
10% more than the price at which its products were advertised.
Some people who had shopped at Avanza in 2008 noted that a sign at the register said “A great way to save—Plus 10% at the register!” When a customer specifically asked about the sign, she was informed that it meant she would save 10% on her purchases at the register. After all, what else could it have meant? When she inspected her receipt, she saw nothing indicating a 10% savings. That’s because Nash Finch Co., the owner of Avanza and other supermarkets and food distribution centers around the country, including Colorado, had intentionally adopted a pricing scheme that was in effect from 2008 until April, 2009, whereby customers were systematically charged 10% more than advertised prices.
Six of the customers sued the owner in 2008. Trial was to begin in Adams County on August 16, but the company caved-in and admitted its wrongdoing. Under the terms of the judgment, each plaintiff/shopper is to receive $700 because of the overcharges. Plaintiffs’ attorneys spent significant time during the discovery phase of the lawsuit. Nash Finch fought the case tooth and nail for almost two years. (I have not looked at the court pleadings, but I think it is a fair assumption that Nash Finch for all this time denied that it had done anything wrong until it finally agreed to the entry of judgment against it.) The judgment also requires that Nash Finch pay to plaintiffs’ attorney fees in a reasonable amount and court costs incurred in prosecuting the lawsuit.
This is another glaring example of just how low the ethics and morals of some businesses have sunk. It would be unfair to say that the store cheated only Latinos. Every customer who shopped there was equally cheated. Having shopped at an Avanza market, I am aware that most of the shoppers were Latinos, though and, in many cases, were people who were the most vulnerable because most considered Avanza to be their neighborhood grocery where they could buy the many types of products that simply are unavailable in other large supermarkets.
After all this, how can anyone ever again trust Nash Finch and the stores it owns? Will the person or persons who made the decision to cheat customers be held accountable by the criminal justice system? Don’t hold your breath!
“Yet Another Colorado-Based Ponzi Scheme,” Colorado Business Litigation Lawyer Blog, posted 04/29/10
“Colorado Money Launderer Gets Jail Time,” Colorado Business Litigation Lawyer Blog, posted 04/05/10