“Excessive price-scanning errors” earned the Kmart in Madison, North Carolina a $5,000 fine from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. [Eden Daily News]
weights and measures
Reader Gabe writes in to tell us that he reported a gas station to the Wisconsin Department of Weights and Measures because he noticed that the pump started charging him before he ever pulled the trigger.
Royal Farms refuses to fix a broken gas pump that charges customers even after the gas stops flowing. The pump in Abingdon, Maryland has overcharged Tom on five separate occasions, and Royal Farms refuses to issue a promised refund.
Daniel wanted to pick up a Lachesis Gaming Mouse on sale at Best Buy for $59.99, but the San Francisco store he visited had only two open-box models left and both cost $71.99.
According to the Missouri Department of Weights and Measures, 2% of all gas pumps sell the wrong amount of gas. The error usually benefits the consumer. [KMBC]
Walmart received an $89,705 fine after the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection found 280 weights and measures violations at nine Walmart stores. The gargantuan retailer failed to subtract the weight of packaging materials, or “tare weight,” when pricing bulk items like coffee, broccoli, and sweet potatoes.
Judy Cardin, section chief for weights and measures with the state, said that in the case of bulk coffee, the weight of the packaging materials was included when the price of the product was determined. The state had tested one-pound bags of Cameron brand coffee beans, which were found to be 3/100ths of a pound over the actual bagged content.
It’s always important to check the price tags in the store to make sure you’re not getting ripped off. Alan writes:
I was in Best Buy yesterday, purchasing an external hard drive at Best Buy, and caught this little pricing glitch. Nothing like paying an extra $10 and not even getting the original packaging or the “new out of the box” feeling.
Hey maybe that’s the fee for insuring that there’s actually a hard drive inside instead of ceramic bath tiles.
I hate it when I’m eating a bunch of crackers and I look on the box and the serving size is like “3 crackers” and all the calories and nutrition info are based on this absurdly small number. So I was glad to turn over my bottle of Coke and see that they were including both a “Standard Serving” and a “This Package” label. On the left it shows how many calories and such are in a regular can. On the right it shows how much is in the bottle. It’s nice that there’s a comparison. It’s also nice that they’re not giving the nutrition info as if someone was going to drink from the bottle at two and a half different meals. Let’s see this spirit of packaging transparency leveraged across the entire food industry.
More than a third South Florida’s gas station pumps have failed the state’s accuracy test in the past three years. An analysis of state inspections reveals that slightly more than half of the broken pumps err in favor of the consumer. The state inspects all pumps every 12-18 months.
The Sun-Sentinel analyzed state inspection reports from 2004 to 2006. The analysis found 580 of more than 2,500 stations in South Florida had at least one pump dispensing more gas than customers paid to purchase, while 477 provided less fuel than they should.
California slapped a $95,571 fine on the grocery chain Mi Pueblo after the Department of Weights and Measures accused the chain of selling meat, poultry and fish by the piece, rather than by weight. [The Mercury News]
When riding a taxi, it’s a good idea to see if the meter has a sealed wire hanging from the meter, which shows the meter hasn’t been tampered with, especially when riding in the Wild Wild West of taxi cities, Phoenix. [The Arizona Republic]
Consumers promote boycott of Conoco and BP stations along I-80 that post low prices on their signs but then charge 25-50 cents higher on most of the actual pumps. Under state law, the practice is legal. [Lincoln Journal Star]
Many airlines are charging travelers for having overweight bags, but a KNVX investigation found that 90% of the scales were malcalibrated. And when they accompanied an Arizona Department of Weights and Measures inspection of United Airlines scales, they found all but one to have errors.
“Tare” or “tare weight” is the weight of an empty container. Tare is not included in a goods’ net weight. So, for instance, 32-oz jar of mayo on the supermarket shelf should actually weight more than two pounds.
Store compliance with state pricing laws fell modestly to 67% this year, a recent Arizona Department of Weights and Measures study found. Here are the worst offenders.