For Immediate Release - September 07, 2010

Patrick-Murray Administration's Division of Standards Fines Food Retailers $143,000 for Item Pricing Violations

Over 100 stores statewide found with missing prices on items

BOSTON - September 7, 2010 - The Patrick-Murray Administration's Division of Standards announced today it has fined food retailers a total of $143,750 after finding 2,443 instances where items were missing pricing labels.

By state law, grocery stores and stores selling food must put a price label on each individual item (with some exceptions like eggs, some snack food, and soft drink bottles and cans). The Division of Standards regularly inspects markets to ensure items are properly labeled.

"The easiest way for a consumer to know the price of the item is to see the price directly on the item they are buying," said Charles Carroll, the Director of the Division of Standards. "This is a vital piece of consumer information to which retailers must pay attention."

The Division of Standards surveyed 10 retailers and 100 locations from around the state. Below is a breakdown, by retailer, of the results of the investigations. A complete list of results is available at the Division of Standards Website xls format of 2010 Item Pricing Survey Report
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Retailer Stores Surveyed Missing Item Violations Total Fines
Big Y9175$7,050
BJ's Wholesale Club16738$35,900
Costco6173$10,100
Market Basket238$2,900
Price Chopper440$1,400
Price Rite10328$23,500
Sam's Club249$4,900
Shaw's/Star Markets11204$15,700
Stop and Shop16310$10,000
Walmart24388$32,300
TOTAL 100 2,443 $143,750

By law, the Division of Standards can fine a retailer $100 for each missing item pricing label. For every 20 displays that are accurately labeled, a retailer earns forgiveness for one improper display. Also, retailers with guaranteed price-accuracy programs have their fines cut in half.

"Consumers have every reason to expect that they can quickly and easily find the accurate price to an item they are going to purchase," said Barbara Anthony, the Undersecretary of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. "Proper item pricing is a fundamental part of the relationship between retailer and consumer, and we encourage retailers to pay as much attention as necessary to this important issue."

The Patrick-Murray Administration's Division of Standards enforces laws, rules, and regulations relating to weights and measures and the use of weighing and measuring devices in commercial transactions. It consistently checks item pricing and pricing methods at retailers throughout Massachusetts. The Division is part of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. For more on the Division and the Office, visit www.mass.gov/consumer and the Office's Consumer Connections blog, and follow the Office on Twitter @Mass_Consumer.