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Holiday Shopping is Here!

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Thanksgiving! It’s turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie — and the start of the holiday shopping season!

And that means it’s also time for shoppers to remember to double-check their receipts to be sure that they’re not being overcharged by faulty cash registers.

Last year, inspections conducted by the County Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures (AWM) showed that 20 percent of all stores inspected — one out of every five — had overcharging errors.

But shoppers can protect themselves from overcharges and stretch their holiday budgets at the same time by following some simple steps:

Protect Against Overcharging:

  • Always verify receipts and immediately notify store management of any price discrepancies.
  • Take sales advertisements with you when shopping to verify prices.
  • Know that stores cannot legally charge more than their lowest advertised, posted or quoted price.

Shop Smart:

  • Plan ahead. Start watching for store sale flyers, flea markets, garage sales, clearance sales, etc.
  • Make a list of what you need.
  • Comparison shop with at least five different sources for the best values.
  • Don’t buy everything at once. Establish a spending plan and timetable to buy what you need over several weeks or months to take full advantage of future sales and true bargains.
  • Call AWM at 1-888-TRUE SCAN (1-888-878-3722) to report overcharges you can’t resolve with store.

Each year, the department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures (AWM) makes sure consumers are getting what they pay for by inspecting thousands of businesses to ensure that the devices that scan, weigh or measure the things people buy are charging customers accurately.

In 2011, AWM inspected 20,034 items at 1,394 stores and found that consumers were four times as likely to be charged too much, rather than too little, when scanning errors happened.