The Division is responsible for enforcing the accuracy requirements and other standards relating to weighing and measuring devices and the use thereof in the sale of food, fuels and other products. DOS regulates the sale of gasoline and sets standards for lubricating oils and antifreeze, including the inspection of all fuel dispensing equipment for required markings pertaining to grade and brand. The Division also tests and approves coin operated devices, licenses auctioneers, transient vendors, promoters, peddlers, motor fuel and oil retailers and registers auto damage repair shops. In addition the Division enforces the item pricing law and unit pricing regulations and item pricing waivers to retail food stores.
In addition to our statutory requirements to annually test and certify all weighing and measuring devices used commercially in towns with a population less than 5,000, the Division tests and inspects price scanners in retail stores for accuracy. Price verification, item pricing inspections and training of local officials are our ongoing annual priorities. The Division has conducted training for local weights and measures agencies for the purpose of enforcing scanner and item pricing accuracy in retail stores. The division will continue to conduct training as new officials assume their duties.
Consumer and Merchant Protection Act:
On July 31, 1998, Governor Cellucci signed into law a landmark piece of legislation which requires new certification standards for appointment of local weights and measures officials. This legislation known as, The Merchant and Consumer Protection Act, in addition to mandating certification standards for officials, also requires scanner inspections in all retail outlets. The new certification standards for local officials require newly appointed officials to be certified within one year of appointment and non-civil service incumbent appointed officials two years. All officials will be required to obtain CEU's in order to maintain their certifications. Therefore, the division will be conducting training for local officials on an ongoing basis throughout the Commonwealth in order to meet the new certification standards required for local officials in the new law.
The main purpose of these new certification requirements is to ensure that weights and measures laws are being enforced unilaterally and equitably in every municipality preserving the division’s primary mission of maintaining "Equity" in the marketplace. This can only be accomplished by requiring standardized training in testing and enforcement procedures for all enforcement officials and periodic auditing of their performance in the field to ensure that these standards are being applied equitably. The Merchant and Consumer Protection Act makes these requirements mandatory for all officials.
The Division is required to administer the annual testing and certifying of all commercial weighing and measuring devices. Devices tested included:
- Small and large capacity scales
- Motor fuel dispensers
- Vehicle tank meters used in the sale of liquid fuels
- Propane meters
- Milk tanks
- Coin operated amusement devices
- Reverse vending machines used for recycling soft drink containers
- Price scanning systems
- Law Enforcement Axle Load Scales
- Issues Waivers from Item Pricing
The Division also inspects pre-packaged food and non-food products to ensure that the net quantity is accurate and that minor variations are within acceptable legal metrology parameters.
The Division issued 12,646 licenses to auctioneers, hawkers and peddlers, transient vendors, promoters, motor fuel & oil dealers, auto damage repair shops and waivers from having to item price to food retailers.
- Issued 12,646 licenses that produced $1.98 million in license fees.
- Tested and certified, as required, 13,036 commercial weighing and measuring devices in 108 towns under 5,000 in population and an additional 67 towns now under contract.
- Conducted over 22,000 inspections, which included scales, motor fuel dispensers including price signs, fuel oil deliveries, and pre-packaged commodities.
- Conducted 378 store inspections pertaining to item pricing and price verification and scanner waiver stores, which resulted in $191,100 in civil penalties for various pricing violations.
- Issued 81 civil citations for various weights and measures violations amounting to $ 16,730 in penalties.
- Administered certification tests and field certified 6 newly appointed local officials bringing the total of current certified local officials to 139.
- Conducted training which resulted in 463 man-days for local officials in attendance for various weights and measures disciplines.
- Now contracted with 67 municipalities to provide weights and measures services.
- Conducted three marketplace surveys. 1. Annual Holiday retail pricing accuracy survey. 2. Statewide Motor Fuel Octane Survey. 3. Monitored fuel oil deliveries during the past heating season.
Relevant Laws & Regulations:
- Consumer and Merchant Protection Act
- The following laws apply to food and grocery stores:
Related Internet Links:
- General Tables of Units of Measurement
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
- Getting What you Pay For: Weights And Measures Tips For Consumers
National Coalition for Consumer Education
- Household Weights and Measures Chart
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
This content provided by the <em>Division of Standards</em> .