A press release from the New York Attorney General has announced that Dollar General, Dollar Tree, and Family Dollar have all been fined for selling expired products. The fines were levied as a result of an undercover investigation into the companies’ practices that began in March 2016.
The investigation found that all three stores sold over-the-counter drugs that were past their expiration dates, which is prohibited by state law. Some of the over-the-counter drugs were months beyond their expiration dates.
Investigators also found that Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores did not comply with New York bottle deposit laws. Investigators said they were told at Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores that bottle returns were only accepted with proof of purchase. The stores were also charging a bottle deposit on bottles that are not subject to the state law.
Dollar General stores were found to be selling store-branded motor oils that aren’t usable for modern engines. Some oil wasn’t good for cars built after 1988. One line was not suitable for most engines built after the Great Depression ended in 1939.
The discount retail chains will collectively pay $1.2 million in fines and damages. Dollar General will pay $1,100,000 in damages and penalties, while Dollar Tree and Family Dollar will pay $100,000. Family Dollar was acquired by Dollar Tree in 2015.
Under the terms of the settlement, Dollar General, Dollar Tree, and Family Dollar all agreed to change their method of selling and stocking over-the-counter drugs. Dollar Tree and Family Dollar have also agreed to comply with bottle deposit laws and Dollar General has stopped selling out-of-date motor oil.
New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement, “New York consumers have a right to expect that products on store shelves are safe, fresh and suitable for their advertised use. These settlements will ensure that Dollar General, Dollar Tree, and Family Dollar will not only pay both a substantial fine and damages, but, more importantly, update their business practices to comply with the law so that no expired over-the-counter drugs are sold to a New York consumer again.”