NY: Wal-Mart levied fictional 'sugar tax' on soda

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York's attorney general has settled a false advertising investigation at Wal-Mart, saying stores were charging a nonexistent "sugar tax" on soda.

The attorney general's office says the retail chain launched a national sale in June advertising Coca-Cola 12-packs for $3, but consumers at 117 Wal-Mart stores in New York were routinely charged $3.50.

Investigators say consumers who complained were falsely told the state has a "sugar tax." They say the markup of more than 16 percent violated two laws.

They say Wal-Mart ran a similar sale in March, and 66,000 12-packs of Coca-Cola have been sold in New York at an inflated price.

The settlement requires Wal-Mart to pay over $66,000 in penalties and costs and improve internal reporting.

A message left at the Bentonville, Arkansas, company was not immediately returned.