News Release

SUPERVISOR DIANNE JACOB

DATE: June 17, 2003

CONTACT STEVE SCHMIDT AT 619-531-4766 or 619-206-9108

 

JACOB'S CONSUMER ALERT PROGRAM WILL TACKLE $100 MILLION IN SCANNER OVERCHARGES

SAN DIEGO - San Diego County must do a better job of making sure that prices San Diego consumers are charged at checkouts match prices advertised by retailers, Vice Chairwoman Dianne Jacob said today as the Board of Supervisors voted to develop a public education campaign that will alert customers to stores that chronically overcharge.

"We must empower consumers with a system that rewards retailers who are getting the price right for San Diego shoppers and alerts consumers to retailers who keep getting prices wrong," said Jacob. "Right now, taking a trip to the store is like playing a game of chance," she said.

Over the last four years, thousands of scanner inspections by the County Department of Agriculture Weights and Measures have determined that on average, San Diegans who make purchases of 30 to 50 items are overcharged every other time. Based on $26 billion in retails sales for the region, the Department estimates that collectively, San Diegans are overpaying by about $104 million annually.

"The County believes retailers can do better and the County wants to help them do better," Jacob said. "There should not be a store, market or business opposed to getting prices right for San Diego shoppers,"she said.

Jacob said that an awareness campaign could involve posting public notices on the windows or doors of businesses that continuously overcharge. Suspected scanner errors or check stand overcharges should be reported to the County's Department of Agriculture Weights and Measures at (858) 694-2278. Chronic violators are posted at http://www.sdcawm.org/.