China Fines Wal-Mart for Misleading Prices

China’s top economic planner ordered Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Carrefour SA to be fined for misleading pricing at some of their stores in the nation, as the government works to rein in rising prices for consumer goods.

Authorities in cities including Shanghai, Chongqing, and Kunming discovered incidents at local Wal-Mart and Carrefour outlets that included labeling on products with prices that didn’t match what shoppers were charged at payment, exaggeration of discounts and labeling that led to confusion about how much a product cost. The stores may be fined five times the revenue they earned using such methods, the National Development and Reform Commission said today on its website.

China, home to 150 million people living on less than $1 a day, has cracked down on price manipulation, ordered authorities to ensure the supply of foodstuffs and frozen contract coal prices to curb inflation that gained the fastest in more than two years in November before moderating last month. The NDRC in November fined units of PetroChina Co. and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. for selling diesel above state-set prices.

Jiang Wei, a Beijing-based media relations official for Wal-Mart, said she couldn’t immediately comment on the fine. Carrefour China spokesman Chen Bo didn’t answer calls to his mobile phone.

By: Winnie Zhu, Yang Huiwen (Bloomberg)

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