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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, MAY 14, 2008

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

Three 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 Greensboro, Mount Airy 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 follow up on 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 paid civil penalties after two inspections:

  • Walgreen #6813 at 4701 West Market St., Greensboro, paid $915 in civil penalties after two inspections found excessive price-scanning errors. An NCDA&CS inspector found an initial error rate of 4 percent in January, based on four overcharge errors in an inspection lot of 100 items. A follow-up inspection in February found an error rate of 2.67 percent based on eight overcharges out of 300 items selected.
  • Tractor Supply #366 at 2151 Rockford St., Mount Airy, paid $1,650 in civil penalties after two inspections turned up excessive price-scanning errors. An inspection in December found an error rate of 16 percent based on eight overcharges in a lot of 50 items. A February inspection revealed an error rate of 3.33 percent, based on 10 overcharges in lot of 300 randomly selected items.

The following store paid a penalty after a third inspection turned up excessive price-scanner errors. The penalty listed below is the second for the store.

  • Wal-Mart Supercenter #3626 at 1330 West Clemmonsville Road, Winston-Salem, paid $3,875 in civil penalties for excessive price-scanning errors found during three inspections. An inspection in September revealed a 5 percent error rate based on five overcharges in a lot of 100 randomly selected items. An inspection in November found 10 overcharges out of 300 items, an error rate of 3.33 percent. A third inspection in January found an error-rate of 3 percent based on nine overcharges from an inspection lot of 300 items. The store paid a $5,000 penalty in November for the first two failed inspections.

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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