November 24, 2008
With the holiday shopping season in full swing, it is important for consumers to be aware of the prices they are being charged at the cash register. This year, the County Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures has scanned over 24,928 items at 1,011 locations, and found that over 50 percent of the stores inspected for pricing accuracy had errors. Shoppers are 3.5 times more likely to be overcharged than undercharged on purchased items.
“During these tough economic times when every dollar counts, you should know the price of the item you’re buying before you check out and bring the sales ad,” said Robert Atkins, County Sealer of Agriculture, Weights and Measures. “The County is dedicated to ensuring that consumers pay no more than the lowest advertised, posted or quoted price.”
A County ordinance also requires stores that are convicted of overcharging to post a “Notice of Penalty for Failed Inspection” at each store entrance for ten days. In 1999, the Consumer Confidence Protection Act was adopted by the County Board of Supervisors, which requires a Notice to Consumers be posted at each point-of-sale station notifying them of their rights and how to contact the County to file a complaint. You can view a list of businesses with overcharging violations online.
Tips for Shoppers:
- The store is legally required to position a price display so that it is visible to you when items are being scanned.
- Verify receipts and notify store management of any price discrepancies.
- To report a complaint, contact the County Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures at 1-888-TRUE SCAN (1-888-878-3722) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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