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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, FEB. 12, 2009

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 Walkertown, Charlotte and Raleigh for excessive price-scanning errors.

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.

“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.”

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:

  • Lowes Foods #182 at 5180 Reidsville Road Walkertown, paid $1,080 in civil penalties after two inspections found excessive price-scanner errors. The first inspection in September 2008 found an error rate of 6 percent, based on 3 errors from 50 randomly selected items. A second inspection found an error rate of 2.33 percent, based on 7 overcharges from a lot of 300 random items.
  • O’Reilly Auto Parts, 3121 North Sharon Amity Road in Charlotte, paid $2,490 in civil penalties after inspectors found excessive price-scanning errors on five occasions. In March 2008, an inspection found an error rate of 14 percent based on 14 overcharges out of 100 randomly selected items. In May 2008, the inspection found an error rate of 12.33 percent based on 37 overcharges out of 300 random items. A third investigation in July 2008 found an error rate of 7 percent based on 21 overcharges out of 300 items. In September 2008, a fourth inspection found a 6.67 percent error rate based on 20 overcharges from a lot of 300 items. A fifth inspection in December 2008 had an error rate of 4.67 percent, based on 14 overcharge errors from a lot of 300 items.

    O’Reilly Auto Parts paid penalties after the failed inspections in May, July and September totaling $6,165.
  • Super K-Mart #4955, 4300 Fayetteville Road, Raleigh, paid $2,505 in civil penalties for exceeding the 2 percent overcharge error rate on their fourth inspection. The first inspection in June 2008 found an error rate of 4 percent, based on four overcharges out of 100 randomly selected items. In July 2008, the second inspection found an error rate of 4 percent based on 12 overcharges out of 300 randomly selected items. The third inspection in September 2008 found a 3 percent error rate based on 9 overcharges from a lot of 300 items. The fourth inspection in December 2008 found an error rate of 2.67 percent based on 8 overcharges from a lot of 300 items.

    Super K-Mart #4955 paid $2,891 in penalties after they failed the first three inspections. In addition, Super K-Mart #4955 will be subject to inspections every 60 days until they can meet the 2 percent or less overcharge rate.

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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