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Total Wine Under Investigation For Flouting Connecticut’s Minimum Pricing Rules

August 29, 2016

Last week, Total Wine & More filed a federal lawsuit aimed at overturning Connecticut’s minimum pricing rules for wine and spirits. Now, the retail giant is under investigation by the state’s Department of Consumer Protection for openly advertising prices below the state minimum. According to the Hartford Courant, the department launched its inquiry after Total Wine began running ads in local newspapers showing prices below the levels mandated by state law. The ads reportedly listed the state minimum price for certain products alongside Total Wine’s lower price.

Larry Cafero, a former Republican state lawmaker who is now general counsel for the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of Connecticut, told the Courant that Total Wine’s play is “creating chaos” in the market. Cafero said in a letter to Consumer Protection Commissioner Jonathan Harris that Total Wine has “publicly, purposefully and blatantly, both in advertisements and in practice, proclaimed that, regardless of when any resolution of their legal challenge to the law may come about, they will defy the law … by selling certain alcoholic beverages below the prices allowed by law.” —Daniel Marsteller

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