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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, MAY 14, 2008

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

Six Wake County 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 Raleigh and Wake Forest 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:

  • Compare Foods at 2215 New Hope Church Road, Raleigh, paid $450 for excessive price-scanning errors during two inspections. The first inspection in October found an error rate of 4 percent, based on four overcharges out of an inspection lot of 100 items. In November, a follow-up inspection found an error rate of 2.67 percent, based on eight overcharges from an inspection lot of 300 randomly selected items.
  • Rite Aid #11400 at 1910 Falls Valley Road, Raleigh, paid $1,290 in civil penalties for excessive price-scanning errors found during two inspections. Inspectors found an error rate of 5 percent during an inspection in September in which five out of 100 randomly selected items were overpriced. A follow-up inspection in October found an error rate of 4 percent, based on 12 errors out of 300 scanned items.
  • Staples # 435 at 2950 Millbrook Road, Raleigh, paid $750 in civil penalties after inspectors found excessive price-scanner errors during routine visits. An inspection in December found an error rate of 12 percent, based on six overcharges in a random lot of 50 items. A follow-up inspection found an error rate of 3 percent based on 9 overcharges in a lot of 300 items.

The stores listed below previously paid penalties after a third inspection turned up excessive price-scanner errors. The penalties listed below are the second for the stores.

  • K-Mart #4450 at 4500 Western Blvd., Raleigh, paid $2,855 for excessive price-scanning errors. NCDA&CS conducted a third inspection in January and inspectors found a 10.33 percent error rate, based on 31 overcharges from an inspection lot of 300 items. An inspection in August found an error rate of 7 percent, based on seven overcharges out of a lot of 100 items. In October, a follow-up inspection found an error rate of 10.67 percent, based on 32 overcharges from an inspection lot of 300 randomly selected items. The store paid a $2,595 penalty in December.
  • Staples #1252 at 11825 Retail Drive, Wake Forest, paid $3,115 in civil penalties after three inspections turned up excessive price-scanning errors. An inspection in July found an error rate of 10 percent, based on five overcharges in a lot of 50 items. An August inspection revealed an error rate of 7 percent, based on 21 overcharges in lot of 300 randomly selected items. A third inspection in October found an error rate of 8.33 percent, based on 25 overcharges from an inspection lot of 300 items. The store paid a $1,500 penalty for the two failed inspections.

The store listed below previously paid penalties after third and fourth inspections turned up excessive price-scanner errors. The penalty listed below is the fourth for the store, and came after the business failed a fifth inspection.

  • K-Mart #3442 at 6200 Capital Blvd., Raleigh, paid $4,155 in civil penalties for excessive price-scanning errors found as a result of a fifth inspection. Inspectors found an error rate of 12 percent during an inspection in February 2007 in which 12 out of 100 randomly selected items were overpriced. A follow-up inspection in March 2007 found an error rate of 4.66 percent, based on 14 errors out of 300 scanned items. A third inspection in June found an error rate of 3.33 percent, based on 10 overcharges in a lot of 300 items.
    NCDA&CS inspected the store in August and found an error rate of 5.67 percent, based on 17 overcharges from a 300-item lot.  A fifth inspection was conducted in October and the store had a 6.67 percent error rate, based on 20 overcharges from a lot of 300 items. The store was assessed a $3,075 penalty following the second inspection. A $1,760 penalty was assessed following the third inspection and a $3,100 penalty was assessed following the fourth inspection.

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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