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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THURSDAY, JUNE 11, 2009

CONTACT:

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

Seven 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 Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Dallas, Elizabethtown, Ellerbe, Gastonia 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:

  • Rite Aid #11366 at 1129 Weaver Dairy Road, Chapel Hill, paid $1,815 in civil penalties for excessive price-scanner errors. The first inspection in December 2008 found an error rate of 12 percent, based on 6 errors from 50 randomly selected items. A second inspection found an error rate of 4.67 percent based on 14 overcharges from a lot of 300 random items.
  • Advance Auto Parts #04134 at 1030 Dallas Cherryville Highway, Dallas, paid $3,915 in civil penalties for excessive price-scanning errors. In February, an inspection found an error rate of 8 percent based on 4 overcharges out of 50 randomly selected items. In March, the inspection found an error rate of 4.67 percent based on 14 overcharges out of 300 random items.
  • Food King #4, 2219 Main St., Ellerbe, paid $1,470 in civil penalties for excessive price-scanner errors. The first inspection in March found an error rate of 6 percent, based on three overcharges out of 50 randomly selected items. In April, a second inspection found an error rate of 6 percent based on 18 overcharges out of 300 randomly selected items.
  • Wal-Mart #1385 at 3000 E. Franklin Blvd., Gastonia, paid $930 in civil penalties for excessive price-scanner errors. An inspection in February revealed an error rate of 3 percent based on three overcharges from an inspection lot of 100 items. A follow-up inspection in March found an error rate of 2.33 percent based on seven overcharges out of a lot of 300 items.     

      The following stores have paid previous fines for price-scanner overcharges, and penalties listed below are for failed re-inspections:

  • Super Target #2080 at 9841 Northlake Center Parkway, Charlotte, paid $1,825 after a fourth inspection found excessive price-scanner errors. In March, inspectors found a 2.67 percent error rate based on eight overcharges from an inspection lot of 300 items. The store had price-scanner errors of 5 percent in September 2008, 3.33 percent in October 2008, and 2.67 percent in January. The store paid a total of $3,800 in fines following the second and third failed inspections. In addition, Super Target #2080 will be subject to inspections every 60 days until it meets the 2-percent-or-less overcharge rate.
  • Advance Auto Parts #4940 at 603 W. Broad St., Elizabethtown, paid $2,180 in civil penalties after a third inspection in March found a 2.67 percent error rate based on eight overcharges from a lot of 300 items. Inspectors found an 8 percent error rate in October 2008 and a 4.67 percent error rate in January. The store paid a $765 fine following the second inspection, and will be subject to inspections every 60 days until it meets the 2-percent-or-less overcharge rate.
  • Rite Aid #11393 at 1601-51 Crosslink Road, Raleigh, paid $2,035 in civil penalties after a fourth inspection in February found a 3.67 percent error rate based on 11 overcharges from an inspection lot of 300 items. The store had a 16 percent error rate in July 2008, a 4 percent error rate in August 2008 and a 7.33 percent error rate in October 2008. The store paid a total of $3,980 in penalties for the previous failed inspections. Rite Aid #11393 will be subject to inspections every 60 days until it meets 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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