Local stores pay fines for price scanning errors

Published 5:25 pm Tuesday, December 20, 2022

RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Standards Division has collected fines from 70 stores in 38 counties, to include three locally, because of excessive price-scanner errors.

“Our Standards Division continues to see a significant increase in stores with price scanner errors, as many stores continue to deal with staffing shortages. Overcharges cost consumers so we remain vigilant in inspecting stores in order to protect consumers,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler.

“During the holidays especially every penny counts, and we want consumers to pay attention during check out,” Troxler added. “Over the last year we have seen about 26 percent of price scanner inspections fail. It is always a good practice for consumers to check their receipts as well as the price on the shelf to make sure that they are paying the correct amount and alert managers if they are not correct.”

Following are civil penalties recorded in the third quarter of 2022:

(Bertie County) Family Dollar at 114 South Commerce St., Aulander paid $5,000 in fines. An inspection in September found an error rate of 13.33 percent based on 40 overcharges in a 300-item lot. The store was reinspected in November and failed with an error rate of 22.33 percent based on 67 overcharges in a 300-item lot. The store was assessed a $5,000 fine and will be reinspected.

(Bertie County) Family Dollar at 1307 South St., Windsor paid $5,000 in fines. An inspection in September found an error rate of 22.67 percent based on 68 overcharges in a 300-item lot. A reinspection in November found an error rate of 23.67 percent based on 71 overcharges in a 300-item lot. The store was assessed another $5,000 fine and will be reinspected.

(Hertford County) Family Dollar at 1216 East Memorial Drive, Ahoskie, paid $5,000 in fines. An inspection in October found an error rate of 33 percent based on 99 overcharges in a 300-item lot. The store also failed two previous inspections and paid an additional fine. The store will be reinspected.

The department conducts periodic, unannounced inspections of price-scanner systems in businesses 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 later. Undercharges are also reported, but do not count against a store. Consumers who would like to file a complaint about scanner errors they encounter, can call the Standards Division at 984-236-4750.

Penalties are assessed if a store fails a 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 error rate. Additional penalties may be assessed if a store fails a re-inspection.