LANSING, Mich., March 27, 2002 (AP) -- Michigan is taking the first step toward suing Home Depot for failing to price all of the merchandise in its stores, Attorney General Jennifer Granholm said Wednesday.
A survey of 14 Home Depot stores in Michigan between June 2001 and January showed that between 15 percent and 55 percent of all items for sale didn't have individual price tags, Granholm said.
The state's pricing law requires retailers to mark individual items with a price tag.
The Atlanta-based chain of hardware and home improvement superstores also is accused of violating the state's Consumer Protection Act for confusing customers by failing to reveal prices.
The notice of intended legal action gives Home Depot 10 days to respond to the state's allegations.
Tom Gray, a spokesman for Home Depot, said the company will work with Michigan officials to comply with the state's pricing law.
Home Depot is no longer posting a list of prices over merchandise rather than individually marking each item, Gray said.
"It is Home Depot's policy to comply with all of Michigan's laws, including the item-pricing law," he said.
If convicted of violating the state's pricing law, Home Depot would face a maximum fine of $5,000 for each violation. Violating the Consumer Protection Act is punishable by up to $25,000 in fines for each offense.
Wednesday's action marks the fourth time Michigan's attorney general has resorted to legal action against Home Depot for breaking its pricing law.
In 1995 and 1996, Home Depot agreed to comply with the state's pricing law without facing a penalty after a notice of intended action had been filed.
Home Depot paid $250,000 in civil penalties in 1998 when it again agreed to comply with the law following a notice of legal action.
Copyright 2002, The Associated Press