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Ten stores across NC hit with fines for price scanning errors

Fines were recently levied against stores in Chowan, Columbus, Franklin, Gaston, Granville, Hertford, Mecklenburg, Pasquotank and Vance counties because of excessive price-scanner errors, the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Standards Division says.

“The price on the shelf and the price at the register should match,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Stores have a responsibility to make sure their pricing is accurate, and most stores pass inspection. Ones with errors face fines until they come into compliance.”

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 at a later date. Undercharges are also reported, but do not count against a store.

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.

The stores that paid civil penalties in the fourth quarter of 2019 are:

•    Walgreens at 717 N. Broad St., Edenton paid $1,500 in penalties. An initial inspection in September found a 12 percent error rate based on six overcharges in a 50-item lot. A second inspection in October found a 5 percent error rate based on 15 overcharges in a 300-item lot. The store passed inspection in December.

•    Dollar General at 60-5 Cronly Drive, Delco, paid $465 in penalties. An initial inspection in October found a 10 percent error rate based on five overcharges in a 50-item lot. A second inspection in November found a 3.67 percent error rate based on 11 overcharges in a 300-item lot. The store will be re-inspected.

•    Tractor Supply at 55 Gate Keeper Drive, Youngsville, paid $630 in penalties. An initial inspection in August found a 6 percent error rate based on three overcharges in a 50-item lot. A second inspection in July found a 2.67 percent error rate based on eight overcharges in a 300-item lot. The store will be re-inspected.

•    Target at 425 Cox Road, Gastonia, paid $15,895 in penalties. An initial inspection in November 2018 found a 12 percent error rate based on six overcharges in a 50-item lot. A second inspection in January found a 4.67 percent error rate based on 14 overcharges in a 300-item lot. A third inspection in March found a 4.67 percent error rate based on 14 overcharges in a 300-item lot. A fourth inspection in May found a 5 percent error rate based on 15 overcharges in a 300-item lot. A fifth inspection in July found a 3 percent error rate based on nine overcharges in a 300-item lot. A sixth inspection in September found an 8 percent error rate based on 24 overcharges in a 300-item lot. The store passed inspection in November 2019.

•    Dollar General at 1605 N.C. 56 has paid $1,650 in penalties. An initial inspection in September found a 7 percent error rate based on seven overcharges in a 100-item lot. A second inspection in October found a 4.67 percent error rate based on 14 overcharges in a 300-item lot. The store passed inspection in December.

•    Dollar General at 914 W. Main St., Murfreesboro, paid $3,180 in penalties. An initial inspection in August found an 8 percent error rate based on four overcharges in a 50-item lot. A second inspection in September found an 8 percent error rate based on 24 overcharges in a 300-item lot. The store passed inspection in November.

•    Auto Zone at 10325 Compass St., Huntersville, paid $720 in penalties. An initial inspection in September found a 38 percent error rate based on 19 overcharges in a 50-item lot. A second inspection in October found a 4.67 percent error rate based on 14 overcharges in a 300-item lot. The store will be re-inspected.

•    Advance Auto Parts at 1105 Ehringhaus St., Elizabeth City, paid $1,485 in penalties. An initial inspection in August found an 8 percent error rate based on four overcharges in a 50-item lot. A second inspection in September found a 5 percent error rate based on 15 overcharges in a 300-item lot. The store passed inspection in November.

•    Dollar General at 6867 Broad St., Middleburg, paid $3,020 in penalties. An initial inspection in July found a 20 percent error rate based on 10 overcharges in a 50-item lot. A second inspection in August found a 3 percent error rate based on nine overcharges in a 300-item lot. A third inspection in October found a 5 percent error rate based on 15 overcharges in a 300-item lot. The store will be re-inspected.

Consumers who would like to file a complaint about scanner errors they encounter, can call the Standards Division at 919-707-3225.