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By Miriam Raftery

November 29, 2014 (San Diego)--The holiday shopping is here, and the County wants to remind consumers to double-check receipts  and make sure you’re not getting overcharged by faulty cash register price scanners.

Overcharging happens. Every year, the County Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures inspects thousands of businesses to make sure that devices which scan or weigh products people buy are charging consumers accurately.

Last year, one out of every five stores inspected — 20 percent — had overcharges, and those overcharges averaged at nearly $3 per error. It may not sound like much, but just multiply that by lots of holiday purchases, and catching errors can add up to substantial savings.

The County has some handy hints for shoppers.

To Protect Against Overcharging:

  • Always verify receipts and immediately notify store management of any price discrepancies.
  • Take sales advertisements with you when shopping to verify prices.
  • Know that stores cannot legally charge more than their lowest advertised, posted or quoted price.

Also, Shop Smart:

  • Plan ahead. Start watching for store sale fliers and clearance sales.
  • Make a list of what you need.
  • Comparison shop with several different sources for the best values.
  • Don’t buy everything at once. Buy what you need over several weeks or even months to take full advantage of future sales and bargains.
  • If you are overcharged, tell the store and ask them to refund the difference.
  • If you can’t resolve an overcharge with the store, you can report it to the County’s Agriculture, Weights and Measures department by calling 1-888-TRUE SCAN (1-888-878-3722) or email to

For more information, visit the department’s consumer protection Web page


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