Six Wake stores fined for price-scan errors

Posted May 14, 2008

Six stores in Wake County paid fines to the state Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services for checkout scanners that charged consumers too much.

Regular inspections by the Consumer Services’ Standards Division found that registers at the stores recorded an incorrect price up to 13 percent of the time. Law requires that registers overcharge on no more than 2 percent of all items purchased. Stores that show a greater than 2 percent error rate are re-inspected, and fined, until they reach the required level.

The Kmart at 4500 Western Blvd. in Raleigh overcharged on 10 percent of transactions in two recent inspections. Last August, the store had an error rate of 7 percent. At a follow-up inspection in October, scanners overcharged for 32 items out of 300 – a rate of 10.67 percent. A third inspection in January showed no improvement. The store was fined $2,855.

Another Kmart, at 6200 Capital Blvd. in Raleigh, was fined $4,155 as a result of a fifth failed inspection. Over the course of a year, the store averaged an error rate of 6.46 percent.

Two Staples locations – at 2950 Millbrook Road in Raleigh and 11825 Retail Drive in Wake Forest – were fined. The Wake Forest store has failed inspection three times in the past year.

The two other stores fined were Compare Foods at 2215 New Hope Church Road in Raleigh and Rite Aid at 1910 Falls Valley Road in Raleigh.


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  • iamforjustice May 15, 2008

    We need the old cash registers back. Forget this high tech mess

  • anonymouse May 15, 2008

    enlightened: good point, i am pretty sure i've been undercharged a few times. sometimes it is hard to know what a price is supposed to be though, especially at places that always have "sales" (like kohl's) or for items on clearance racks. so i just chalk it up to a pleasant surprise at checkout. getting overcharged is easier to know and point out (which i do).

    Tax Man: why were you surprised at staples and not k-mart? just wondering.

  • TechRescue May 15, 2008

    It's not a calibration thing unless it involves weighted measure. The errors are in matching the prices in the system to the prices on the shelves.

    It seems like a simple thing, but it isn't. A Staples store will stock upwards of a half-a-million items, a big-box store will have over a million. Believe it or not, it's very unlikely that they're trying to rip you off - the bad publicity and fines far outweigh any financial gains.

    I've worked with major retailers for over twenty years. All the big ones have extensive polices in place to try and prevent pricing errors from happening. Some have even gone to radio-controlled shelf labels (the LCD ones you sometimes see) that get the prices from the same file the register uses. Most of the time, though, the error lies with the person who stocks the shelves and doesn't change the tags.

    Check your receipt. Bring errors to the attention of the lane super or the store manager, not the cashier. Alternately, complain on GOLO.

  • enlightened May 15, 2008

    There are too many stories that lack enough information to help the reader.
    What was the average percentage of overcharge? Could it have been a $3.97 item was $3.99? Or a $49.98 item was $49.99?
    How many times was the wrong price to our advantage and we we actually undercharged?
    Were low cost items overcharged more often than big ticket items?
    It is difficult to tell how this is hurting anyone until these sorts of pertinent details are included in the story.

  • shecares May 14, 2008

    YES gov't should be doing this. These store new what they were doing. One or two times is an accident, over and over is what?STEALING.We all need to keep up with how our money is spent. PLEASE CHECK THE GAS NIGHTMARE!!!!!!!!!

  • iamforjustice May 14, 2008

    Stores know me by my first am always correcting stores and looking for discounts. What I tell people to watch also is freshness of meats...have you ever seen someone put chicken in the can food section because they are too lazy to put it back in the meat department and then a worker will pick it up and put it back. Well a lot of times it has spoiled then..I keep an eye out for things like that and report it. I kno what color chicken is supposed to be.

  • rainy39 May 14, 2008

    The Compare foods in Zebulon is wayyyy off on scanning as well. If you can, always watch as your items are being rang...especially if there are sales or BOGO..always check your reciepts.

  • Wake1 May 14, 2008

    The fine goes to the State, but the consumers don't get anything but screwed!

  • badjudgement May 14, 2008

    I am surprised that there aren't several grocery stores listed.

  • GWALLY May 14, 2008

    Oh yea.....they are "errors" alright!!!!