Durham Wal-Mart, Office Depot pay fines for price-scanner errors

Two Durham stores were among five in the state that recently paid fines for excessive price-scanner errors, state officials said Tuesday.

The Office Depot at 56000 South Miami Blvd. and the Wal-Mart at 5450 New Hope Commons Dr. in Durham each paid fines, according to the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Standards Division.

The division conducts periodic unannounced inspections of business price-scanning systems to check for accuracy between the prices advertised and the prices that ring up at the register.

If a store has more than a 2 percent error rate that cause customers to be overcharged, inspectors discuss the findings with the store manager and conduct a more intensive follow-up inspection at a later date. Undercharges also are reported, but they don’t count against a business.

Fees or penalties are assessed against a store if it fails follow-up inspections. The store must pay penalties and be re-inspected every 60 days from the last inspection until it meets an error rage of 2 percent or less. Additional fees can be levied if the store fails re-inspection.

The Durham Office depot paid $1,710 in fines, after an inspection in October found an error rate of 16 percent. A second inspection in November found an error rate of 7.33 percent. The store will be reinspected.

The Durham Walmart paid $885 in fines after an inspection in August found a 5 percent error rate. A second inspection in September found a 2.33 percent error rate. The store passed its November inspection.

“We want consumers to be confident that the price on the shelf matches the price that’s scanned at the register,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Stores have a responsibility to make sure their pricing is accurate, and most stores pass inspection. Ones that don’t are fined until they come into compliance.”

The other stores that were fined were a Dollar General in Dublin and a CVS and Staples in Winston-Salem.

Consumers who would like to file a complaint about a store can call the Standards Division at 919-707-3225.