The Sonoma County Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures is asking residents to verify charges on any retail receipts they may have after finding nearly 36 percent of local grocery stores and retail businesses failed a price accuracy inspection over the last 13 months, the county recently announced.
The increase in price inaccuracies was up 10 percent over the previous year, Weights and Measures officials said.
The Department of Weights and Measures is responsible for conducting annual price accuracy inspections of all automated point of sale stations in the county.
“It is illegal for a retailer to charge a price higher than what is posted, advertised, or presented as the true price offered for sale,” said Andrew Smith, the county’s Agricultural Commissioner and Sealer of Weights and Measures.
“It is illegal for a retailer to charge a price higher than what is posted, advertised, or presented as the true price offered for sale.”Andrew Smith, Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner and Sealer of Weights and Measures
According to the county, a total of 648 price accuracy inspections were carried out between March 2022 and April of this year. Of those, 232 businesses were found to have made mistakes resulting in notices of violation.
Following a second inspection, 170 retailers remained out of compliance and were assessed an administrative penalty.
County administrators discovered 971 items that were overcharged, resulting in penalties totaling $102,000.
The county said local retailers faced a challenge to keep pace with accurate pricing after staff turnover during the pandemic and commodity price changes due to inflation.
Anyone needing to report a price overcharge or wanting more information about the problem should call 707-565-2371 or email the Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures.