|Some Stores in Arizona Have High Scanning Error Rates|
Shoppers may want to check their receipts twice after reviewing the 2001 UPC Pricing Accuracy Report, released by the Arizona Department of Weights & Measures. The report showed that in 60% the 2,255 UPC inspections conducted between January 1 and October 31, 2001 retailers failed to scan items accurately.
According to Arizona law (A.R.S. 41-2081), all retailers are subject to UPC price accuracy inspections. This type of inspection consists of either 25 or 50 items (depending on the amount of products the store offers). The purpose of the inspection is to verify that the shelf or display price equals the scanned price. To pass the UPC inspection, the store can have no more than one error per inspection.
In 2000 there were 1,053 fewer inspections and a 52% failure rate. The major reason for the 8% increase in failure rate in 2001? Many retailers were visited for the first time in 2001. This years report also reflects a continuing trend -- the majority of the errors are undercharges (in the favor of the consumer). The dollar value of the undercharges is almost three times the amount of overcharges (in favor of the retailer). This may sound like a great deal to shoppers, but according to the Department it is not.
When scanning errors occur, it means that retailers are making mistakes. You may benefit from that mistake during one shopping trip but not the next, says Sandy Williams, Director of the Department. To make sure youre not overcharged, consumers are strongly urged to write down shelf prices, watch the register display and check the receipt before leaving the store.
To assist consumers and enable them to review all the results of their favorite store, the Department has placed all UPC inspection results on their web site. Here are the summaries of the best and the worst findings of retailers that received UPC inspections between January 1, 2001 and October 31, 2001.
The Best Retailers
Lowest failure rate, based on number of inspections failed: Sam's Club, Dillards, Home Depot, Safeway, Lowe's Home Improvement, Best Buy, Vitamin World, Southwest Supermarkets, Costco, Circle K.
Highest average inspection score: Sam's Club, Costco, Home depot, Safeway, Best Buy, Vitamin World, Southwest Supermarkets, Dillard's, Lowe's Home Improvement, Albertson's.
Retailers least likely to overcharge customers: Sam's Club, JC Penney, Lowe's Home Improvement, Strouds, Wal-Mart, Macy's, Sally's beauty Supply, Radio Shack, Ultimate Electronics, Robinsons-May.
For stores with five or more UPC inspections, Sams Club was at the top of the Best UPC accuracy list, based on a 99% average score, zero failures and zero overcharges. Lowes Home Improvement also received high ratings because they appeared in all three best categories.
The Worst Retailers
Highest failure rate, based on number of inspections failed: Cost Plus, Ultimate Electronics, Petco, Robinsons-May, Kmart, Circuit City, Macy's, Sports Authority, Office Max, A V Partners, NAPA Auto Parts.
Lowest average inspection score: NAPA Auto Parts, Robinsons-May, Kmart Supercenters, Kmart, Petco, Ultimate Electronics, Macy's, Sally's Beauty Supply, Cost Plus, Circuit City, Hi-Health.
Retailers most likely to overcharge customers: Safeway, Cobblestone Market, Sunrise Oil, AutoZone, Petco, IGA, 7-Eleven, Arco AM PM, NAPA Auto Parts, Hi-Health, Pep Boys.
Petco and NAPA Auto Parts both received the lowest overall rating for UPC pricing accuracy because they scored in all three worst categories.
Most Improved Retailers
Some stores that had low scores in the past made dramatic improvements since the Departments UPC Pricing Accuracy program was expanded and the inspection results publicized. Retailers who had the most dramatic improvement between 2000 and 2001 include NAPA Auto Parts, Robinsons-May, Sears, Food City, JC Penney, Macy's, Circle K and Toys 'R' Us.
Although we have seen a continued increase in attention from the business community in achieving pricing accuracy, retailers in our state have a long way to go before consumers can be confident that the price they see advertised is what they will be charged. We take this program very seriously since pricing inaccuracy is a violation of the law," says Director Williams.
With 20 Compliance Officers to regulate all Arizona retailers, the Department relies heavily on consumers to be their eyes and ears in the marketplace. The Department of Weights & Measures advises consumers to do the following every time they shop:
1. Bring ads with you.
2. Write down prices. By law, retailers are required, upon your request, to provide you with a pen so you can write down prices.
3. Watch the cash register display at the check out counter.
4. Speak up when a scanning error occurs.
5. When you catch a scanning error, ask for the stores written policy regarding errors in pricing. All retailers are required to have a written policy available to their customers upon request. Some retailers have policies that state items are to be given to customers at no charge if an item scans incorrectly.
6. Check your receipt before you leave the store.
7. Call the Department at (602) 255-5211 if a scanning error isn't fixed to your satisfaction.
©2001 Judy Hedding, licensed to
Information provided by Arizona Department of Weights & Measures, used with permission.
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