For Immediate Release - July 08, 2013

Office of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Standards Fines Shaw’s Supermarkets $8,000 for Item Pricing Violations

BOSTON – The Patrick Administration’s Division of Standards (DOS) announced today it has fined Shaw’s supermarkets a total of $8,000 after finding some stores were not following the Commonwealth’s item pricing law.

DOS surveyors found that three of the four Shaw’s supermarkets visited during a survey of popular Fourth of July barbeque items failed to individually item price a majority of their grocery items, in violation of state law. The law requires grocery stores to individually item price each item, or apply for a “waiver,” which would allow the store to remove the individual item price provided the retailer installed in-aisle or handheld scanners.  Shaw’s supermarkets have not applied for a waiver and do not have in-aisle or handheld scanners for consumers to check prices and therefore must continue to individually price certain items in their stores.

“What we found during the course of our investigation was concerning enough that the Division of Standards will be sending staff out to all Shaw’s Supermarkets in the Commonwealth to ensure that the item pricing law is being followed,” said Undersecretary of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation Barbara Anthony. “Fortunately all of the items we tested scanned at the register for the correct prices, but the issue is price transparency as well as accuracy. If a store is not fully equipped with scanners and the requisite shelf signs, then the store must continue to individually item price.”

By law, the DOS can fine a food retailer up to $200 for each missing item pricing label.

“The Division of Standards conducts regular item pricing inspections to ensure that items are properly labeled and scanners are working,” said DOS Director Charles Carroll. “Based on our most recent findings, the Division is going to expand our survey into other Shaw’s locations to ensure they are in compliance with the law.”

The Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation is committed to protecting consumers through consumer advocacy and education, and also works to ensure that the businesses its agencies regulate treat all Massachusetts consumers fairly. Follow the Office at its blog, on Facebook and on Twitter @Mass_Consumer.