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price-scannereWhen doing our shopping, most of us trust that we’re paying the accurate price for our items at checkout. What many of us don’t know is that Massachusetts actually has an item pricing law, which requires stores to individually price mark most items with the actual selling price, and sell any item at the lowest price indicated.

Every year, the MA Division of Standards (DOS) conducts a survey to check if certain stores really are pricing their items correctly.

You may be wondering, who is the Division of Standards?

The Division of Standards is a regulatory agency within the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. The primary mission of the agency is to provide uniformity in the marketplace by enforcing standard accuracy requirements for commercial devices used in the weighing or measuring of any item sold by weight, measure or count. The Division also regulates the licensing of hawkers and peddlers, auctioneers, retailers of oil and motor fuel, transient vendors, motor vehicle damage repair shops and event promoters.

This year’s item pricing survey:

This year, compliance officers from DOS targeted particular shopping malls in their survey: South Shore Plaza (Braintree Mall), Burlington Mall, Cape Cod Mall and Holyoke Mall. The officers inspected 3,210 items in 116 stores.

The results:

Consumers can all sigh in relief because the survey reports high item pricing accuracy among the retailers surveyed. In fact, only 3 total items were overcharged for a cost totaling $15.05.

Two retailers were fined a total of $600. Pacsun in Braintree had two violations, as two different items scanned incorrectly. They were fined $200 per item, for a total of $400. Shaw’s in Burlington was fined $200 for incorrect pricing.

If you ever notice inaccurate pricing of an item from its advertised price to checkout, here’s what you should know:

If the item costs more than $10.00 and rings up higher than the advertised price, $10.00 must be deducted from the lowest advertised price. If the item costs less than $10.00 and rings up higher than the advertised price, the item should be given as free.

If you have additional questions, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by calling our Consumer Hotline at (617) 973-8787, or toll-free in MA at (888) 283-3757, Monday through Friday, from 9 am-4:30 pm. Follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer. The Baker-Polito Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation along with its five agencies work together to achieve two goals: to protect and empower consumers through advocacy and education, and to ensure a fair playing field for Massachusetts businesses. The Office also oversees the state’s Lemon Laws, data breach reporting, Home Improvement Contractor Programs and the state’s Do Not Call Registry.

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