SUPERVISOR DIANNE JACOB
DATE: November 23, 2011
CONTACT: Steve Schmidt, 619-531-4766 or 619-206-9108
MAKING SURE THE PRICE IS RIGHT FOR HOLIDAY SHOPPERS
Thanksgiving means turkey, stuffing, cranberries — and a slew of late-night, or early-morning “Black Friday” sales events that mark the beginning of the holiday shopping season in San Diego County.
The County reminds shoppers to protect their wallets by checking and double-checking sales receipts to make sure they’ve been charged the correct price for purchases. Regular inspections conducted by the County Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures show that price-scanning errors happen a lot and typically cost consumers money.
“The same advice applies to the holidays as applies to every shopping day: always check those receipts immediately and notify store management of discrepancies,” said County Supervisor Dianne Jacob who helped initiate the County’s price-scanner check program back in 1999. “It helps to bring newspaper or Internet advertisements with you to stores, and to remember that retailers aren’t allowed to charge more than their lowest advertised price,” Jacob advised.
“Alert customers who watch for mistakes actually help businesses,” said Lisa Leondis, Agriculture, Weights and Measures director. “Store personnel often unintentionally forget to update computer databases with price changes. In fact, this accounts for the most common reason for price-scanning errors.”
Agriculture, Weights and Measures protects consumers countywide by conducting more than 69,000 inspections each year to make sure machines that scan, weigh or measure products are accurate, so people get what they pay for and can accurately compare consumer goods in the marketplace.
Last year, the department reported that 25 percent — one out of every four — of 1,400 businesses inspected had scanning errors. In some cases, those errors actually benefited customers by charging them less than full price. But the department also reported that customers were more than twice as likely to be overcharged, and that for every $1 in undercharges there were $5.33 in overcharges.
Customers who find price problems can easily report them by contacting the County’s Agriculture, Weights and Measures department at 1-888-TRUE SCAN (1-888-878-3722) or at http://www.sdcawm.org.
Happy Thanksgiving and double-check those receipts!