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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, DEC. 9, 2008

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 Burlington, Greensboro, Hickory, Salisbury and Winston-Salem for excessive price-scanning errors.

“Our Standards Division inspectors are constantly 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. “Customers with complaints about the accuracy of price scanners can contact the division 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. Additional penalties may be assessed if the store fails a re-inspection.

            Following are stores that paid civil penalties after two inspections:

  • CVS #4135 at 4639 W. Market St., Greensboro, paid $5,000 in civil penalties after two inspections found excessive price-scanning errors. An inspection in September revealed an 18 percent error rate, based on nine overcharges in a lot of 50 randomly selected items. An inspection in October found 15 overcharges out of 300 items, an error rate of 5 percent.
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods #203 at 1860 Catawba Valley Blvd. SE, Hickory, paid $1,395 in civil penalties after inspectors found excessive price-scanner errors on two separate occasions. An initial inspection in August revealed an error rate of 6 percent, based on three overcharges from a lot of 50 randomly selected items. A second inspection in September revealed an error rate of 3.67 percent from 11 overcharges in a lot of 300 items.
  • Big K-Mart #3852 at 815 E. Innes St., Salisbury, paid $1,800 in civil penalties after two inspections found excessive price-scanning errors. An NCDA&CS inspector found an initial error rate of 5 percent in June, based on five overcharge errors in an inspection lot of 100 items. A follow-up inspection in August found an error rate of 5.67 percent, based on 17 overcharges out of 300 items selected.
  • Staples #1135 at 430 Hanes Mill Road, Winston-Salem, paid $700 in civil penalties after two inspections found excessive price-scanning errors. An inspection in May revealed a 10 percent error rate, based on five overcharges in a lot of 50 randomly selected items. An inspection in July found 15 overcharges out of 300 items, an error rate of 5 percent.

The stores listed below previously paid penalties after multiple inspections turned up excessive price-scanner errors.

  • Super K-Mart #4961 at 529 Huffman Mill Road, Burlington, paid $4,300 in civil penalties after a fourth inspection found excessive price-scanning errors. The company previously paid penalties of $2,400 in May and $2,360 in July after failing to pass second and third inspections. An error rate of 5 percent based on 15 overcharge scanning items out of a lot of 300 items was found during a fourth inspection in September. Previous inspections found error rates of 4, 5 and 6 percent.
  • Target #1077 at 5420 University Parkway, Winston-Salem, paid $1,720 for excessive price-scanning errors. It is the third penalty paid by the company. Previous penalties paid were $1,335 in May and $1,505 in August. During a fourth visit, inspectors found an error rate of 2.33 percent in October based on seven overcharged items out of a lot of 300. The initial error rate was 8 percent in March, followed by an error rate of 2.67 in May and August.

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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