COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Dollar General stores across Ohio shut down Friday morning, and employees at multiple stores have confirmed the reason.
NBC4 checked multiple stores in the Columbus metro area. Workers at the Clintonville location said they received a call from Dollar General’s corporate office telling them to close. They did not know a reason or timeline for when they would reopen.
The store in Westerville, however, had more of an explanation on a sign. While there were no workers in sight inside of the Dollar General, the sign on the door explained it was “temporarily closed for inventory,” and would “open at 11:30.”
NBC4’s sister station in Youngstown also discovered closures. Employees at three stores in that region told WKBN that Dollar General’s corporate office closed the stores so workers could perform price changes.
The stores then changed course around 11:30 a.m. A Dollar General worker at a Boardman store told WKBN that management said the closures were a “mistake.” The Boardman store and others in Youngstown and Salem confirmed they reopened.
The closures came after Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost sued the value stores in November for deceptive pricing practices. With 12 different complaints in hand, his office accused Dollar General stores of listing items at a certain price on shelves, but sometimes charging more or double at the register. Franklin County Auditor Michael Stinziano moved with the state in December. His inspectors found pricing discrepancies at eight out of 10 stores checked, and placed stickers warning of overcharging on their cash registers.
The Dollar General corporate office and its legal team responded on Jan. 9 with a motion to dismiss the lawsuit from Yost’s office. Court records show they followed up with a repeated motion to dismiss on Thursday, and claimed the state showed no proof of its claims and also that any overcharging at its stores is actually legal.
“The allegations are so vague and ambiguous that Dollar General cannot reasonably be required to frame a responsive pleading with any substantive value,” wrote Kimberly E. Ramundo, an attorney representing Dollar General. “The alleged price discrepancies are not actionable under the [Consumer Sales Practices Act] because they are governed by a separate statutory regime, which not only permits price discrepancies but also subjects them to regulatory oversight.”
Dollar General also objected to Yost’s earlier request for a restraining order against Dollar General, which would force them to charge the prices advertised on stores’ shelves. A Butler County judge will consider whether or not to grant that restraining order in a hearing scheduled for Wednesday.
The company’s corporate office has not responded to NBC4’s repeated requests for comment dating back to November.