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Consumers Warned About Faulty Bar-Code Scanners

— When it comes to bar-code scanners, let the buyer beware.

San Diego County Supervisor Pam Slater-Price today urged shoppers to examine receipts at checkout registers for price-scanning errors.

Slater-Price said such caution is prudent in light of findings by the county Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures that one-quarter of the nearly 1,100 businesses inspected in the past seven months had incorrect bar- code pricing.

"Faulty bar-code scanners are more common than you might think, and all too often, shoppers pay the price for overcharges,'' Slater-Price said.

County inspectors discovered the mistakes when they checked prices of 18,000 items as part of their on-going inspection program.

"We also found that customers were more than twice as likely to be overcharged as undercharged, and that there was $3.38 in overcharges for every $1 in undercharges,'' said Robert Atkins, the county's agriculture commissioner and sealer of weights and measures.

Consumers should verify receipts and immediately notify store management of price discrepancies, bring sales advertisements to the check-out line for reference and remember that a store cannot charge more than the lowest advertised or quoted price, Atkins said.

The county maintains a list of businesses where pricing errors were discovered since 2009 on the department's website.

The list includes 531 establishments ranging from large supermarket and retail chains to filling stations and haircut establishments. Few mom-and-pop stores are included on the list.

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