WINSTON-SALEM. N.C.--The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Standards Division has fined five stores because of price-scanner errors that charged customers more for the last quarter of 2016. Two of the stores are in Winston-Salem.
In Winston-Salem, the CVS on N. Martin Luther King Drive and Staples on Hanes Mill Road were both fined. CVS was fined $4,940 and Staples was fined $2,760.
Two stores in Durham (Walmart, Office Depot) and a Dollar General store in Dublin are the other offenders.
So what can you do to make sure you're not paying more than you should be?
Check your receipts! If there is an error, bring it up. Most stores will probably try and fix the problem on the spot.
The department conducts periodic, unannounced inspections of a business’ price-scanner system 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.
"We don't count errors where they're losing money," Allen Katalinic, Weights and Measures Program Manager for the NCDA, said. "These businesses are only fined on errors where they charge more. We make them correct all of them, but they're only assessed a penalty for when they're in the plus."
Penalties are assessed if a store fails the 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.
Katalinic also notes that stores are probably not doing this intentionally. Prices could have been entered incorrectly into the store's scanning system or it could take some extra time for a local store to catch up to a corporate change.