Back-to-school means back-to-shopping for parents. Wisconsin Consumer Protection officials encourage consumers to keep a watchful eye on prices for back-to-school items.
Newspaper advertisements and in-store promotions can save shoppers some cash. However, those sale prices might not register at the check-out counter. But, it’s not intentional. “Most pricing errors are accidental — they happen when sales are on, when there’s some sort of problem with the signs not being accurate or the computers not keeping up with what the signs are offering. So, it’s not intentional, but it does happen when sales occur.”
Weights and Measures Chief Judy Cardin says there’s a greatest chance of pricing error when products are on sale. If you notice an error, call attention to it sooner rather than later. “Mark down what the price is, so that when you get to the check out you have it available and watch what you’re being charged. If you’re overcharged let the clerk know immediately that you’re overcharged. Wisconsin law requires that the store refund you any amount that you’re overcharged.”
Cardin suggests you write down prices as you shop, bring store ads with you, watch display screens as items are being scanned, speak up if you think you are overcharged, and if need be, report pricing errors to state or local inspectors.
Cardin says Wisconsin inspectors regularly check price scanners for accuracy, and make sure gas pumps, store scales and bulk food items are accurate. According to the National Conference on Weights and Measures, inspectors save the average family approximately $600 each year.
NOTE: Last year, DATCP weights and measures inspectors tested more than 25,000 items for price accuracy in stores all around the state. The total price scanner accuracy rate for 2009 was 96.5%. That percentage includes both overcharges and undercharges. For more weights and measures information, or to file a complaint, contact the Bureau of Consumer Protection on the web at www.datcp.state.wi.us; via e-mail at DATCPHotline@wi.gov; or call toll-free at 1-800-422-7128.