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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, AUG. 24, 2009

CONTACT:

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

Five 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 Benson, Cary, Denver, Durham and Robbins 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.

“With the economy, consumers are watching their purchases closely and looking for sales,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “By checking the accuracy of price-scanning systems in retail stores, we are helping to ensure that when shoppers get to the checkout counter, they get the advertised price. Consumers can contact our Standards Division at (919) 733-3313 to register a complaint.”  

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:

  • Carlie C’s IGA #870 at 604 South Wall St., Benson, paid $1,665 in civil penalties for excessive price-scanner errors. The first inspection in April found an error rate of 8 percent, based on four overcharges from 50 randomly selected items.  A second inspection in June found an error rate of 3.67 percent based on 11 overcharges from a lot of 300 random items..
  • K-Mart #7323 at 960 Kildare Farm Road, Cary, paid $2,040 in civil penalties for excessive price-scanning errors. In February, an inspection found an error rate of 5 percent based on five overcharges out of 100 randomly selected items. In March, the inspection found an error rate of 4.67 percent based on 14 overcharges out of 300 random items.
  • Carquest #1386 at 1432 N.C.16 North, Denver, paid $675 in civil penalties for excessive price-scanner errors. The first inspection in April found an error rate of 6 percent, based on three overcharges out of 50 randomly selected items. In June, a second inspection found an error rate of 6.67 percent based on 20 overcharges out of 300 randomly selected items.
  • Compare Foods at 1233 University Drive, Durham paid $2,205 in civil penalties for excessive price-scanner errors. An inspection in October 2008 revealed an error rate of 16 percent based on eight overcharges from an inspection lot of 50 items. A follow-up inspection in December found an error rate of 3.67 percent based on 11 overcharges out of a lot of 300 items.
  • The Village Market at 280 South Middleton St., Robbins, paid $1,200 in civil penalties for excessive price-scanner errors. The first inspection in January found an error rate of 3 percent, based on three overcharges out of 100 randomly selected items. In March, a second inspection found an error rate of 4.33 percent based on 13 overcharges out of 300 randomly selected 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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