The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office filed a criminal case against Ralphs Grocery and its parent company alleging that it overcharged consumers for prepackaged and weighed products and engaged in false labeling and advertising.

The complaint alleges that Ralphs and the Kroger Company engaged in 18 violations of unlawful computation of value, 14 counts of false and misleading advertising, 18 violations of false labeling, and 9 violations of selling prepackaged commodities in less quantity than represented.

Total fines could reach $256,000.

The complaint came as a result of undercover inspections at 14 grocery stores in Los Angeles over a six-week period earlier this year, when inspectors found 27 violations of overcharges to customers, according to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office.

The majority of the violations were for illegal charges of the weight of the package, or for including the ice glaze on frozen products in the net weight, and many prepackaged items were also found to be under the labeled weight posted, the complaint alleges.

To read the press release from the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, click here.

Why it matters: The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office noted that Ralphs was previously issued notification of multiple violations in 2008 and 2009 and paid fines both years. The suit serves as an important reminder to comply with all laws and local regulations on packaging and labeling, as well as weights and measures, to avoid continuing violations and fines.