Here’s the Real Deal: Remember to Check Your Receipts!

‘Tis the season — for shopping! Black Friday is coming. The ads are filled with deals.

Well, if you’re hitting the stores this holiday season, just remember, here’s the deal — always double-check your receipts to make sure you’re not getting overcharged by faulty cash register price scanners.

Overcharging happens. San Diego County’s Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures inspects thousands of businesses to protect consumers by checking all the machines and devices that scan, weigh and measure the things people buy to make sure they are charging people accurately. And every year we find stores and machines that charge people inaccurately.

Last year, nearly one out of every five stores inspected — 19.5 percent — had overcharges, averaging $3.05 per overcharge. That can add up, especially if you’re holiday shopping.

You can learn more about Agriculture, Weights and Measure’s scanner-inspection program by checking out this video, and at the department’s Consumer Protection Web page.

But for now, here are some handy hints for how you as consumers can protect yourselves and have a great holiday shopping season!

Protect Against Overcharging:

  • Always verify receipts and immediately notify store management of any price discrepancies.
  • 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.

Shop Smart:

  • 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.
  • Call Agriculture, Weights and Measures at 1-888-TRUE SCAN (1-888-878-3722) or email to to report overcharges you can’t resolve with store.




Gig Conaughton is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact