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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, NOV. 2, 2007

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

Six 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 Boone, Charlotte, Knightdale, Mayodan and Wake Forest for excessive price-scanning errors.

“We are committed to ensuring fairness in business transactions for both consumers and retailers. Our inspectors constantly monitor the accuracy of price-scanning systems in retail stores across the state,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Our Standards Division also responds to price-scanner errors reported by consumers.  The division can be contacted at (919) 733-3313 with reports and complaints.”

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. 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:

  • Big K-Mart #9547 at 1620 Blowing Rock Road, Boone, paid $840 in civil penalties after a re-inspection in September found an error rate of 3.33 percent based on 10 scanner errors from a lot of 300 items. An inspection in August found an error rate of 3 percent from an inspection lot of 100 items.
  • Eckerd Pharmacy #2476 of 8532 University City Blvd., Charlotte, paid $1,110 in civil penalties after two inspections found price-scanning errors. During an initial inspection in June, an error rate of 6 percent was found based on three overcharges from an inspection lot of 50 randomly selected items. A follow-up inspection in July found an error rate of 3.33 percent based on 10 overcharges out of 300 items.
  • Pep Boys #132 at 5020 South Blvd., Charlotte, paid $4,200 in civil penalties after excessive errors were found during inspections in July and September. In July, inspectors found an error rate of 14 percent based on seven overcharges from an inspection lot of 50 items. A follow-up inspection revealed a 10.33 percent error rate with 31 overcharges from a lot of 300 items. 
  • Target #2111 of 1000 Shoppes at Midway Drive, Knightdale, paid $690 in civil penalties after two inspections turned up excessive price-scanning errors. During an initial inspection in August, an error rate of 4 percent was found based on four overcharges from an inspection lot of 100 randomly selected items. A follow-up inspection in September found an error rate of 3.67 percent based on 11 overcharges out of 300 items.
  • The Standards Division collected a $5,000 civil penalty from Wal-Mart Supercenter #3305 at 6711 Highway 135, Mayodan, after inspectors found price-scanner errors during two inspections.  An initial inspection in August found an error rate of 5 percent based on five overcharges from an inspection lot of 100 randomly selected items.  A follow-up inspection in October found 12 errors from 300 items, an error rate of 4 percent.
  • Staples #1252 of 11845 Retail Drive, Wake Forest, paid $1,500 in civil penalties after two inspections found excessive price-scanning errors. During an initial inspection in July, an error rate of 10 percent was found based on five overcharges from an inspection lot of 50 randomly selected items. A follow-up inspection in August found an error rate of 7 percent based on 21 overcharges out 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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