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Staples Settles with Vouchers

Staples Inc. has agreed to hand out $7.50 vouchers to 76,800 customers to settle a lawsuit charging the office-supply retailer with breaking Massachusetts' pricing laws, which require retailers to put "clear and accurate" price stickers on all items for sale or to provide aisle scanners that let consumers determine prices.

The litigation began in March 2003 when local consumer advocate Colman Herman accused the company of engaging in unfair and deceptive consumer practices in violation of the pricing regulations. The suit was certified a class action. In the Jan. 11 settlement, Staples agreed to designate an upcoming Monday as "Consumer Day," where the store will distribute vouchers to the first 1,200 shoppers who visit each of Staple's 64 Massachusetts' locations.

"In contrast to recent item pricing, class action settlements, which have provided no direct benefit to the plaintiff class, the parties to this settlement have negotiated a substantial direct benefit to each class action member," the court documents stated.

Staples says it has spent an estimated $3.9 million to comply with the state's pricing regulations since February 2000 and asserts that the claims in the lawsuit are without merit.

Staff Writer

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