Consumers in the state of California are used to basing their buying decisions off of the listed prices for items. This is because the state has decreed that businesses must charge the amount advertised for a product.
Businesses that charge more than the listed price for a commodity can be charged under California Business and Professions Code Section 12024.2: Inaccurate Pricing.
You can find out more about the exact definitions for a BPC 12024.2 violation right here with the Simmrin Law Group. Find out which products this charge applies to and focus on some of the penalties for a conviction today.
California Definition for Inaccurate Pricing
The court system of California dictates the definition and penalties for inaccurate pricing under BPC 12024.2. According to this code, individuals engage in inaccurate pricing when they charge more for a commodity than the:
- Advertised Price
- Posted Price
- Marked Price
- Quoted Price
Businesses may also face an inaccurate pricing accusation for charging more than:
- The Price Listed on a Shelf Tag
- The Price Listed on the Commodity
Defining a Commodity in California
BPC 12024.2 deals with very specific products called ‘commodities.’ Commodities are items produced from the earth and then sold to consumers. Items in the following categories are examples of goods that are considered commodities in California:
- Precious Metals
- Fossil Fuels
Charges Similar to Inaccurate Pricing in California
There are a number of legal codes in the state of California designed specifically to protect consumers from unfair pricing practices. Examples of charges used for consumer protection can include:
- California Business & Professions Code Section 12024: Selling Short Quantity
- California Business & Professions Code Section 12024.1: Misrepresentation of Charge for Service
- California Business & Professions Code Section 13413: False Statement Regarding Gasoline
- California Business & Professions Code Section 13532(a): False Advertising Regarding Gasoline
- California Business & Professions Code Section 17500: Making False Or Misleading Statements In Advertising
Examples of Inaccurate Pricing Violations
Man A is working in a record store. He has a major sale planned with prices cut across the store. However, when customers come in to buy products, he does not offer them the correct discounts on their purchases. He could be prosecuted under BPC 12024.2.
Man B runs a grocery store. He accidentally enters the wrong product number for a woman buying groceries, and she is charged the wrong amount for her bananas. However, he may avoid BPC 12024.2 charges, as he keyed in the wrong cost by accident.
The Penalties for an Inaccurate Pricing Conviction
Inaccurate pricing can be prosecuted in California as either:
- An Infraction OR
- A Misdemeanor
Infraction inaccurate pricing charges generally only apply if:
- The Inaccurate Pricing was not Willful
- The Inaccurate Pricing Resulted in an Overcharge of Under $1
An infraction can lead to fines of up to $100. Misdemeanor charges can be brought against a business that willfully overcharges consumers, or that overcharges consumers for more than $1. Misdemeanor inaccurate pricing convictions can result in:
- Fines of Up to $1,000
- Up to One Year of Jail Time
Types of Legal Defenses for Inaccurate Pricing Charges
Business owners in California do not just have to accept an inaccurate pricing accusation. You may be able to build a defense against BPC 12024.2 charges by reaching out to a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles right now.
A professional lawyer may be able to help you by demonstrating that:
You Mistakenly Charged the Wrong Price for an Item
Sometimes, customers are told the wrong price for an item by accident. A cashier could accidentally key in the wrong code for an item, or forget about a current sale. These legitimate mistakes should not be prosecuted under BPC 12024.2.
You Charged the Proper Amount for a Commodity
There are situations that involve a consumer trying to get a better price for a commodity than a business offers. If you can show that you charged the consumer the advertised, listed, marked, or quoted price for an item you may be able to avoid BPC 12024.2 charges.
Speak with a Legal Professional About Inaccurate Pricing Charges
You can face fines and jail time for a California Business and Professions Code Section 12024.2: Inaccurate Pricing conviction. Take steps to protect yourself from these accusations by reaching out to a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles. The professionals at the Simmrin Law Group can begin working on your case now with a FREE consultation.
Take steps to prepare your defense now by calling (310) 896-2723 or filling out our online contact form.