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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, SEPT. 13, 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 Albemarle, Smithfield, Durham, Concord, Salisbury and Raleigh 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.

  • Ingles #100 at Highway 24-27 and Henson St., Albemarle, paid $3,795 in civil penalties after a re-inspection in July found an error rate of 3 percent based on nine scanner errors from a lot of 300 items. Previously, the store failed an inspection for excessive errors during inspections in May.
  • M & B Supermarket of 826 South 3rd St., Smithfield, paid $4,080 in civil penalties after two inspections found price-scanning errors. During an initial inspection in March, an error rate of 8 percent was found based on four overcharges from an inspection lot of 50 randomly selected items. A follow-up inspection in May found an error rate of 4.33 percent based on 13 overcharges out of 300 items.
  • Staples #708 at 3600 North Duke St., Durham, paid $2,000 in civil penalties after a re-inspection in July found an error rate of 3 percent based on 9 scanner errors from a lot of 300 items. Previously, the store failed an inspection for excessive errors during inspections in May when six overcharges were found out of 50 items, at a rate of 12 percent.
  • Super K-Mart # 34748 of 545 Highway 29 South, Concord, paid $1,923.75 in civil penalties after two inspections discovered price-scanning errors. During an initial inspection in April, 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 May found an error rate of 5 percent based on 15 overcharges out of 300 items.
  • The Standards Division collected a $4,985 civil penalty from Office Depot #547 at 715 East Innes St., Salisbury, after inspectors found price-scanner errors during three inspections.  The initial inspection in April found an error rate of 6 percent based on three overcharges from an inspection lot of 50 randomly selected items.  A follow-up inspection in May found 23 errors from 300 items, an error rate of 7.67 percent. At that time, a civil penalty of $3,870 was assessed.  In July, a third inspection revealed an error rate of 5.67 percent, with 17 overcharges out of 300 items.
  • Wal-Mart Supercenter #5292 of 2431 New Bern Ave., Raleigh, paid $2,300 in civil penalties after three inspections discovered price-scanning errors. During an initial inspection in April, 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 June found an error rate of 5 percent based on 15 overcharges out of 300 randomly selected items. At that time, a civil penalty of $1,515 was assessed.  A third inspection in August revealed an error rate of 3 percent when nine overcharges were found out of a lot of 300 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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