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99 Cent Suit

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99 cents means 99 cents flat—at least according to two class-action lawsuits filed against the chain this month. Faced with increased operation costs, the chain raised many of its prices to 99.99 cents a couple of years ago—which meant customers were, ostensibly, paying $1 plus tax at the register. It's just a penny, so what's the big deal? "If they call themselves 99 Cents Only, it should be 99 cents," said Dan Callahan, an Orange County lawyer. "We had a survey done before we filed the lawsuit to see how many people thought they were paying 99 cents, and it was just about unanimous that nobody realized that they were paying more than 99 cents. The people who go to that store are typically lower income or seniors, so the people they're taking advantage of are the ones least able to discern the difference and least able to afford it." [LAT]