Check your receipts over the holidays!

The “shop ‘til you drop” holiday season is back, which means it’s time to remember to double-check your receipts when you hit the stores so that you don’t get overcharged by faulty cash-register price scanners.

It’s something that can definitely happen. Each year, inspectors from San Diego County’s Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures inspect thousands of local businesses, checking price-scanning devices, scales that charge items by weight, and the other equipment that set prices, to make sure they’re charging customers accurately. Last year, one out of every six businesses inspected had overcharging errors.

So shoppers are reminded to check all your receipts, because even small overcharges can add up. Other tips provided by the Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures to help you shop smartly and safely include:

  • Always verify receipts and immediately notify store management of any price discrepancies.
  • Stores are required to display the price of an item (as you are buying it) before the transaction is complete. Watch the display screen as your items are scanned.
  • Take sales advertisements with you when shopping to verify prices.
  • Know that stores cannot legally charge more than their lowest advertised, posted or quoted price.
  • Plan ahead. Start watching for store sale fliers, flea markets, garage sales, clearance sales, etc.
  • Make a list of what you need.
  • Comparison shop with at least five different sources for the best values.
  • Don’t buy everything at once. Establish a spending plan and timetable to buy what you need over several weeks or months to take full advantage of future sales and true bargains.