For Immediate Release - August 29, 2005

Tales Of Scales And Seafood Sales

Four Seafood Resellers Fined for Overcharging

The Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs' Division of Standards recently completed statewide spot inspections of retail seafood resellers and found that four didn't pass the sniff test when it came to properly weighing seafood.

"Seafood sales typically peak as Labor Day weekend approaches so we want to make sure seafood lovers get an accurate price. While we found few violations, it's an opportunity to urge shoppers to be observant at the seafood counter and watch what's being weighed," said Consumer Affairs Director Beth Lindstrom.

Division of Standards inspectors made trial purchases of lobster, scallops, clams and other seafood products at thirty-eight stores across the state, citing four retailers for overcharging customers, mainly due to including the weight of packaging materials. State law requires retailers to deduct the tare weight or packaging weight so that consumers receive the net weight of the product.

Inspectors fined Ocean Fresh Seafood of North Attleboro $3,000.00 and Clem & Ursis of Provincetown $375.00. These were third offenses for both retailers. Captain's Quarters of Milford was fined $150.00 and Guido's Marketplace of Great Barrington was fined $75.00. Lobster Pound in Hingham was fined $100.00 for having an unsealed scale.

Retailers must use scales that have been tested by the Division of Standards and approved as being accurate for commercial use. All scales used in direct sales must be equipped with a weight display on the customer side of the scale. Shoppers should look for the Division's red or green seal affixed to the customer side of the scale. Retailers should re-weigh seafood at a customer's request. Consumers are urged to contact the Division of Standards at (617) 727-3480 if they believe they have been overcharged or suspect a retailer is using an inaccurate or unapproved scale.