Standards Division employees hard at work protecting consumers in retail transactions. Staff seeing an uptick in price scanner errors in stores.

By on April 12, 2022

Summary:
Employees with our Standards Division work hard everyday to protect consumers in retail transactions such as checking the accuracy of price scanners and gas pumps. Inspections over the past six months have found an uptick in price scanner errors during inspections, prompting a reminder to check prices at checkout.

Today’s Topic with Mike Davis

  • Every so often I like to talk about the work of one of our divisions and how it impacts residents of this state. Today I want to talk about our Standards Division and what inspectors are finding in their work.
  • Our Standards Division works to ensure fairness in trade through the accuracy of weights and measurement tools.
  • Two areas that affect probably every resident is in checking price scanners and gas pumps for accuracy.
  • With gas pumps we want to help ensure that if consumers are pumping a gallon of gas that they are getting a gallon of gas. Gas pumps are routinely inspected, and you will find a sticker on the pump with the department’s name and the month of the last inspection.
  • In retail stores, Standards inspectors are checking the accuracy of price scanners between what is advertised on the shelf and what it rings up at the register.
  • They also inspect the scales used to determine the weight of some items in the store. For example, deli meats and cheeses, produce or seafood sold by the pound.
  • Over the past six months, our inspectors have seen an uptick in price scanner errors in stores, which serves as a reminder for consumers to watch items closely as they ring up. (22 stores paying penalties in Fourth Quarter 2021 and 45 stores paying penalties in First Quarter 2022)
  • With some stores posting weekly sales on items, it is easy to see what a big job it is to make the changes on the shelf and in the software for check out. Staffing shortages only add to the challenge, but it doesn’t remove a store’s responsibility to sell items for the advertised price.
  • Price scanner errors can add up for consumers so that’s why inspections are important and why consumers should pay attention, too.
  • The department conducts periodic, unannounced inspections of price-scanner systems in businesses to check for accuracy between the prices advertised and the prices that ring up at the register.
  • If a store has more than a 2-percent error rate on overcharges, inspectors discuss the findings with the store manager and conduct a more intensive follow-up inspection later.
  • Undercharges are also reported, but do not count against a store.
  • Penalties are assessed if a store fails a follow-up inspection. In addition to the penalties paid, the store will be subject to re-inspection every 60 days from the last inspection until it meets the 2-percent-or-less error rate. Additional penalties may be assessed if a store fails a re-inspection.
  • Any penalties paid by stores go to the local school systems.
  • Consumers can talk with store management if they notice an error on prices and I expect it would be resolved quickly.
  • If they would like to file a complaint about scanner errors they encounter, consumers can call the Standards Division at 984-236-4750.
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