Nearly half of the price scanners put in aisles of stores throughout the state don't meet state standards, Massachusetts consumer officials said today.
At 19 of 47 stores, none of the scanners met state standards, Only 10 of the stores visited by inspectors were in full compliance. The inspection results only were for in-aisle scanners, not those where consumers pay.
The state Division of Standards examined more than 400 scanners at multiple locations of 17 retailers and found that about 45 percent flunked. While some were unplugged, most failed because they didn't allow consumers to print a pricetag and then attach it to the product. That's important because stores install the scanners not just as a customer convenience, but to comply with a state law that allows them to avoid putting price stickers on every non-food or grocery item.
“Consumers have the right to know the price of an item before they have to pay for it, and in-aisle scanners are a tool frequently used by consumers who want to check the price of an item. If these scanners are not operating properly, it is not only an inconvenience to consumers it is also in violation of state regulations,” said Barbara Anthony, who runs the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. “We will continue to monitor this situation and urge retailers to make sure their scanners are properly working.”
Anthony's office, which oversees the Division of Standards, said the results of the inspections will be sent to the Attorney General’s Office for a decision on what, if any, enforcement action might be taken.
Stores that had no scanners in compliance, according to state officials, include two of three Best Buys inspected, and all four Lowe’s checked and all four Macy’s.
Inspections were conducted in stores in the following communities:Auburn, Berlin, Billerica, Braintree, Chicopee, Danvers, Hadley, Holyoke, Hudson, Lanesboro, Millbury, Pittsfield, Springfield, Stoneham, Tewksbury, Westfield, West Boylston, West Springfield, Woburn and Worcester.
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Mitch Lipka is one of America's leading consumer journalists and advocates. He is an expert in product safety, recalls, scams, and helping consumers get out of jams. He is a nationally known consumer columnist and runs TheConsumerChronicle.com. He lives in Worcester. You can find him on Facebook or reach him at ConsumerNews@Aol.com