A deal advertised on the packaging of Olay soap at Walmart and Dillons stores in the Wichita area wasn’t actually a deal and violated Kansas consumer protection laws, the Sedgwick County district attorney’s office said.
The stores and the soap distributor agreed Wednesday in Sedgwick County District Court to pay nearly $40,000 in restitution, civil penalties and investigation costs, District Attorney Marc Bennett said in a news release.
The consent agreement followed a consumer protection investigation into sales of Olay “Ultra Moisture with Shea Butter” soap at 10 Walmart and 24 Dillons stores in the county, court documents and the district attorney’s office said. Twin packs with 12 bars of soap were shelved next to single packs with six bars of soap. The twin pack’s packaging advertised “Buy 2 & Save.”
But the soap in the twin packs was actually more expensive by weight because its bars of soap were about 15 percent smaller than the bars of soap in the single packs, investigators found. The two retailers did not sell single packs of the smaller size of soap.
District attorney investigators said the actions of the companies violated the state statutes against deceptive and unconscionable acts and practices.
More than 1,000 twin packs were sold by the two retailers between 2013 and 2017 in Sedgwick County, according to court documents. The product is no longer sold by Proctor and Gamble, the owner of Olay, and its manufacture was discontinued before the investigation started.
Proctor and Gamble Distributing, Walmart and Kroger and Dillon Companies agreed to pay $19,000 in restitution, $19,000 in civil penalties, $1,270 in investigation costs and $197 in court costs. Because it would be impractical to pay restitution to the soap customers, the court said, the companies will pay the restitution to a charitable organization in the area. They chose United Way of the Plains.