Fastenal Fined $650K Over Undisclosed Fees at California Stores

The company allegedly failed to disclose added shipping and handling charges to walk-in retail customers since 2015.

Fastenal Erfw

California’s Monterey County District Attorney announced Dec. 30 that it has ordered Fastenal to pay $650,000 to resolve allegations that the company charged undisclosed surcharges to walk-in store customers across California over the past five years.

District Attorney Jeannine Pacioni said that prosecutors alleged that the Winona, MN-based industrial distributor sold certain in-stock goods to walk-in customers across its 138 retail facilities in California without disclosing that it was adding “shipping and handling” surcharges for those products. Pacioni said that action is in violation of the state’s Unfair Competition Law and False Advertising Law. She added that Fastenal failed to provide required customer-facing screens that displayed the prices of goods and surcharges as they are scanned.

According to Pacioni, Fastenal committed those violations while under a permanent injunction levied in 2011 against the company to not willfully engage in those exact actions within California.

A press release from the district attorney said that judgement against Fastenal in the new case determined the company must pay $625,000 in investigative costs and civil penalties, plus $25,000 in restitution to the California Consumer Protection Prosecution Trust Fund. Fastenal is also ordered to form and maintain audit and employee training programs to ensure future compliance. A new permanent state injunction against Fastenal from intentionally committing similar violations is also included in the new stipulated judgement.