Consumer

The Holiday Season is Here, Remember to Check Your Receipts

On your marks. Get Set. Shop!

Thanksgiving is here, which means we’re just hours away from Black Friday and the start of the annual holiday shopping season.

It also means it’s a good time to remind consumers to double-check receipts to protect themselves and make sure they’re not getting overcharged by faulty cash register price scanners.

Overcharging happens. Every year, the County Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures inspects thousands of businesses to protect consumers by checking to make sure all the machines and devices that scan, weigh and measure the things people buy are charging consumers accurately.

Last year, one out of every five stores inspected — 20.34 percent — had overcharges, at nearly $3 per error on average. It may not sound like much, but just multiply that by holiday shopping.

Fortunately, the County has some handy hints for how consumers can protect themselves!

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 sdcawm@sdcounty.ca.gov to report overcharges you can’t resolve with store.

For more information, visit the department’s consumer protection Web page

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