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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, NOV. 29, 2007

CONTACT: Stephen Benjamin, director
NCDA&CS Standards Division 
(919) 733-3313

Five stores pay fines for price-scanning errors

RALEIGH - The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Standards Division recently collected fines from stores in Hickory, Lenior, Gastonia, Charlotte and Winston-Salem for excessive price-scanning errors.

“We constantly have inspectors monitoring the accuracy of price-scanning systems in retail stores throughout the state to ensure fairness in business transactions for consumers and retailers,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “In addition to routine inspections, our Standards Division will inspect stores in response to consumer complaints. The division can be contacted at (919) 733-3313.”

The NCDA&CS Standards Division conducts periodic, unannounced inspections of a business’ price-scanner system 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 at a later date. Undercharges are also reported, but do not count against a store. Penalties are assessed if a store fails the 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 rate.

Following are stores that agreed to settlements:

  • Flower’s Auto Parts #560 at 935 Highway 70 Southeast, Hickory, paid $660 in civil penalties after two inspections found excessive price-scanning errors. An NCDA&CS inspector found an error rate of 10 percent in June, based on five overcharge errors in an inspection lot of 50 items. An inspection in August found an error rate of 5.33 percent when 16 out of 300 items were overpriced.
  • Staples #1073 at 112 Wilkesboro Blvd., Lenoir, paid $1,500 in civil penalties after two inspections found excessive price-scanning errors. An inspection in August found an error rate of 7 percent based on seven overcharges in a lot of 100 items. An October inspection revealed an error rate of 3.33 percent, based on 10 overcharges in lot of 300 randomly selected items.
  • Rite Aid #11442 at 110 Garrison Blvd., Gastonia, paid $570 in civil penalties for excessive price-scanning errors during two inspections. Inspectors found an error rate of 4 percent during an inspection in September in which four out of 100 items were overpriced. A follow-up inspection in October found an error rate of 2.33 percent based on seven errors out of 300 scanned items.
  • Rite Aid #11498 at 12380 South Tryon St., Charlotte, paid $1,410 in civil penalties for two inspections that found excessive price-scanning errors. An inspection in September revealed a 6 percent error rate based on three overcharges in a lot of 50 randomly selected items. An inspection in October found 11 overcharges out of 300 items, an error rate of 3.66 percent.
  • Wal-Mart Supercenter #3626 at 1330 West Clemonsville Rd., Winston-Salem, paid $5,000 for excessive price-scanning errors during two inspections. The first inspection in September found an error rate of five overcharges out of an inspection lot of 100 items. In November, the follow-up inspection found an error rate of 3.33 percent, based on 10 overcharges from an inspection lot of 300 randomly selected items.

Each store could have been assessed a civil penalty of up to $5,000 for each violation under the Weights and Measures Act of 1975. Money collected from civil penalties is distributed to school systems statewide.

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NCDA&CS Public Affairs Division, Brian Long, Director
Mailing Address:1001 Mail Service Center, Raleigh NC 27699-1001
Physical Address: 2 West Edenton Street, Raleigh NC 27601
Phone: (919) 733-4216; FAX: (919) 733-5047

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Steve Troxler, Commissioner of Agriculture

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