[LACo Weights & Measures] – As the holiday shopping rush approaches, County of Los Angeles Weights and Measures officials remind shoppers to check their store receipts for accuracy. Shoppers should expect, and are legally entitled, to pay only a store’s lowest advertised or posted price for any item. Routine inspections reveal that overcharge errors do occur and often involve items with special promotional offers, “sales,” and markdowns for which price information has not been updated in the scanner system. Holiday shopping presents many opportunities for such errors.
Overcharges can be easily missed. We encourage consumers to monitor prices charged at the checkout register and to report errors to the manager or customer service desk before leaving the store. Shoppers who are overcharged should contact the County of Los Angeles Department of Agricultural Commissioner/Weights and Measures at 1-800-665-2900 or may submit a complaint by logging on to http://acwm.lacounty.gov/scripts/scanform.cfm.
All complaints will be investigated the same day received or the next business day. It is not necessary to send receipts. Callers should be prepared to provide the following information:
* a complete description of the item or items
* the shelf price or advertised price
* the price scanned at the checkout register
* the date the overcharge occurred.
The Buyer Beware Program was established in February 2002 after a sampling of price accuracy at stores throughout Los Angeles County revealed that overcharges occurred at two-thirds of the locations. The program requires all stores with automated price look-up systems to register with the Department of Agricultural Commissioner/Weights and Measures and provides for routine inspections of stores to monitor price accuracy. Since implementation of the program, through stringent enforcement by our undercover inspectors and increase awareness and resulting efforts by retailers to achieve compliance, price accuracy has improved significantly. Consumers, though, need to remain alert to potential pricing errors.
Established in 1881, ACWM protects consumers and the environment through early detection and exclusion of dangerous, invasive insect and plant pests; enforcement of laws and regulations regarding safe pesticide use; operation of an environmental toxicology laboratory; clearance of weeds, brush, and debris from vacant land to reduce fire hazards; inspection and verification of accuracy of scales, meters, price scanners, and quantity labeling on packaged goods.