(CNSNews.com) - A group that wants to "change" (unionize) Wal-Mart is trying to discourage Americans from shopping there during the critical holiday season.
The group's latest tactic is to convince Wal-Mart customers that the store may be cheating them at the cash register.
WakeUpWalMart.com announced on Monday that it has sent a letter to attorney generals in all 50 states, urging them to launch a "full-scale investigation" into Wal-Mart's pricing practices.
WakeUpWalMart.com is trumpeting two newly released studies that allege pricing inaccuracy at Wal-Mart stores in four states. The difference between the shelf price and the cash register price at various Wal-Mart stores in California, Illinois, Michigan and Indiana failed to meet federal standards, the studies concluded.
The federal standard, set by the National Institute for Standards and Technology, says no more than two out of 100 randomly selected items from any one store may be incorrectly priced.
WakeUpWalMart.com is urging Wal-Mart customers to "beware."
"On behalf of all consumers, especially as we enter the holiday shopping season, we are calling on every state to immediately investigate Wal-Mart's pricing and scanner practices and to take appropriate action to fix this potential problem," said Paul Blank, campaign director for WakeUpWalMart.com.
"At least in the four states studied, Wal-Mart may need to change its slogan to 'Sometimes Low Prices' if you are lucky," Blank added.
WakeUpWalMart said Wal-Mart should be required to post notices at each cash register, warning customers that they may be overcharged; it wants Wal-Mart to "hire enough employees" to accurately price merchandise; and it says each Wal-Mart store should hire an employee who would be solely responsible for accurate pricing.
The group plans to distribute "Wal-Mart Consumer Alert" flyers starting on Nov. 25, warning consumers about "pricing errors" found at stores in the four states.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan issued a statement expressing "concern" about Wal-Mart's scanning error rate. She said she'd take a "close look" at the studies' findings.
But she also mentioned that consumers bear some of the responsibility for how much they pay:
"As we enter the busiest shopping season of the year, this study is a glaring reminder that all consumers must pay close attention to the pricing screen at checkout. If you think you have been overcharged, you should complain immediately to store personnel," Madigan said.
WakeUpWalMart.com, which wants to unionize Wal-Mart employees, routinely blasts the giant retailer over the wages and health care it offers employees who choose to work there.
See Earlier Stories:
Campaign Against Wal-Mart Hasn't Touched Profits (15 Nov. 2005)
Union Group Launches 'Association' for Wal-Mart Workers (4 Nov. 2005)
Protesters Target 'Shocking, Secret' Wal-Mart Memo (28 Oct. 2005)