Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

First back to school assignment: check those receipts

SAN DIEGO – So much to buy and so little time. Yes, it’s back-to-school time around San Diego County.

That means lots of shopping, from binders to backpacks, clothes, laptops, tablets and everything in between.

It also means the first homework assignment – remember to double-check all receipts to avoid getting overcharged by faulty cash-register price scanners.

It can happen. Every year inspectors from the County’s Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures check thousands of local businesses to make sure all the devices that scan, weigh or measure the things people buy are charging people accurately. Last year, one out of every six businesses inspected had overcharging errors.

Even small overcharges can add up. This year, the National Retail Federation estimates that kindergarten through high school families will spend an average of $673 as they head back to school. College students and families are expected to spend an average of $888.

Following are tips for shopping smartly and safely:

  • Always verify receipts and immediately notify store management of any price discrepancies.
  • Stores are required to show the price of an item on the display screen as it is being purchased before the transaction is complete. Watch the display screen as items are scanned.
  • Take sales advertisements to store when shopping to verify prices.
  • Know that stores cannot legally charge more than their lowest advertised, posted or quoted price.
  • Plan ahead. Start watching for store sale fliers, flea markets, garage sales, clearance sales, etc.
  • Make a list of supplies needed.
  • 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 it is needed 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 [email protected] to report overcharges that can’t be resolved with store.


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