Discount Supermarket Sued Over Price Fraud

Rami Levy supermarket. Photo by Nati Shohat/Flash90
Rami Levy supermarket. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Attorneys are seeking class-action status for what could become one of the biggest consumer lawsuits in Israeli history – a demand for compensation of NIS 1.73 billion from the Rami Levy supermarket chain. According to attorneys organizing the lawsuit, the chain habitually cheated consumers by adding weight to meat and chicken products on sale, to the point that consumers paid the full price for items supposedly “on sale.”

Rami Levy has a reputation as a major discounter, building its reputation with sales on basic items, including its famous five shekel per kilo chicken sales. However, most of those sales are not legitimate, and in fact consumers end up paying full price on those sale items because of the chain’s fraud, say attorneys.

“The products on sale are weighed and have a barcode affixed to them, with the weight and price already registered in the store’s computers,” say the attorneys. “When a customer brings the item to be checked out, the bar code reader checks the item and records the price, accurately measuring the sale price per kilo. However, the reader then adds weight to the item, to make up the difference between the sale price and the full price.” Thus, a customer who buys chicken at a 40-percent discount on sale will see that price per kilo on the register when they checkout – but only when they get their receipt will they see that they paid for 5 kilos of chicken, not the 3 they actually bought.

This practice has been going on for years, the attorneys say, and they have substantial evidence of its prevalence. “The defendant presents a false impression that it is selling items on sale, when actually it is forcing consumers to buy those products at full price. Thus, the defendant illicitly and unfairly earns tens of millions of shekels from consumers it cheats.”

Business daily Globes said it sought a reaction from Rami Levy regarding the lawsuit, but none has been forthcoming.