EUGENE, Ore. – If you’ve done some shopping at a Fred Meyer lately, you may want to check your receipt.
Customers in an Oregon class action lawsuit claim the grocery store chain charged a bottle deposit on containers that aren’t redeemable.
Michael Fuller, the attorney representing the customers, described a “tidal wave” of people throughout the state complaining they were ripped off.
"Some people looked at their receipt when they were having their items scanned and said, '10 cents? No, this is orange juice in a carton that's not a deposit item,'” Fuller said. “Others noticed it after they had payed. Others noticed it when they went to return the item that wouldn't have thought to return the item and then others wouldn't have thought to return the item and they didn't know it all until they went back to look at their receipts once they heard of the case."
Fuller said his clients bought a carton of Florida Natural Orange juice and when they tried to get their deposit back, they were turned away.
Under Oregon’s bottle bill, only metal, glass and plastic bottles can be returned for a refund. This excludes paper cartons.
Fuller said he’s had people reaching out to him for a month or two about this.
"A lot of times, especially with these class actions where it's a hidden fee, people don't notice it right away,” Fuller said. “They say, you know, it's not fair. It's not the 10 cents that's going to break my pocket book, it's just a matter of fairness."
A Fred Meyer spokesperson refused to answer questions about the controversy or its bottle policy in general. In a written statement, the spokesperson said the company will take steps to correct any errors they find:
“Fred Meyer has always been committed to our customers’ shopping experience. If we ever discover we have made an error we take immediate corrective action. We will continue to be the trusted community partner that Oregon residents have come to rely upon for the past 96 years.”
Thousands of people who paid the extra deposit on these containers would be eligible to receive about $200 in damages if the customers win the class action lawsuit, according to a complaint filed in federal court on August 13.