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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, APRIL 2, 2007


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

Stores pay fines for pricing errors

RALEIGH - The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Standards Division recently collected fines from eight stores in North Carolina for excessive price-scanning errors. Civil penalties were assessed against stores in Lenoir, Lincolnton, Matthews, Raleigh, Jacksonville and two stores in Cary.

"Our inspectors routinely check the accuracy of price-scanning systems in retail stores to ensure fairness in business transactions, which benefits both the customer and the business," said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. "Consumers expect to pay the advertised prices for items in stores, and businesses have an equally strong interest in making sure their registers are ringing up the correct prices. Consumers are always welcome to report price-scanner errors to our Standards Division at (919) 733-3313. We do respond to consumer complaints in addition to our normal inspections."

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.

  • Eckerd Pharmacy #8607 at 2438 Cary Parkway, Cary, paid $1,770 in civil penalties after Standards Division inspectors found price-scanner errors during two separate inspections. An initial inspection in December 2006 found an error rate of 12 percent based on six overcharges from an inspection lot of 50 randomly selected items. A follow-up inspection in February found 21 errors from 300 items, an error rate of 7 percent.

  • Eckerd #8927 of 1945 High House Road, Cary, paid $780 in civil penalties after two inspections found price-scanning errors. During an initial inspection in December 2006, an error rate of 20 percent was found based on 10 overcharges from an inspection lot of 50 randomly selected items. A follow-up inspection in February found an error rate of 3.67 percent based on 11 overcharges out of 300 items.

  • Lowe's Foods #142 at 1208 Hickory Blvd., Lenoir, paid $2,055 in civil penalties after Standards Division inspectors found price-scanning errors on two occasions. An initial inspection in January found an error rate of 6 percent based on three overcharges from an inspection lot of 50 items. A follow-up inspection in March found eight overcharges from an inspection lot of 300 randomly selected items, an error rate of 2.67 percent.

  • The Standards Division collected a $570 civil penalty from Target #918 at 1900 Matthews Township Parkway, Matthews, after inspectors found price-scanner errors during two inspections. The initial inspection in December 2006 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 January found seven errors from 300 items, an error rate of 2.33 percent.

  • Super Target #1826 of 7900 Old Wake Forest Road, Raleigh, paid $1,170 after a January inspection found three overcharges from an inspection lot of 100 items, a 3 percent error rate. A follow-up inspection in February found eight errors from a lot of 300 items, an error rate of 2.67 percent.

  • Walgreen Pharmacy #07748 at 359 Western Blvd., Jacksonville, paid $705 in civil penalties after two inspections found price-scanning errors. During an initial inspection in November, an error rate of six percent was found based on three overcharges from an inspection lot of 50 randomly selected items. A follow-up inspection in January found an error rate of 2.7 percent based on eight 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) 707-3001; FAX: (919) 733-5047