Thursday, August 26, 2010

Low Compliance Rate Among City Supermarkets

Half of the city’s supermarkets are scamming customers. That was the finding of the New York City Department of Con- sumer Affairs (DCA), which inspected 700 supermarkets across all the five boroughs and found only 48 percent complied with DCA rules.

The DCA conducted 983 inspections throughout the course of this year and issued 516 violations. The non-compliant supermarkets could face fines more than $380,000.

There are several DCA guidelines supermarkets must follow. Scales, with a DCA seal, must be available within 30 feet of prepackaged food areas. Unit or item pricing must be visible, either on the item or as a tag on the shelf, but there are certain exceptions for items like snack foods and fresh produce.

The DCA found the majority of violations occurred when items did not have proper price tags. Supermarkets were also penalized for inaccurate prices at checkout scanners, taxation of non-taxable items and improper weighing and unavailability of scales for customers, according to the DCA press release.

DCA Commissioner Jonathan Mintz is adamant that these violations stop, and consumers receive the protection they deserve. “It is a supermarket’s responsibility to ensure that its products are accurately priced and its customers are correctly charged,” he said, “But with half the supermarkets in the City receiving violations, it is clear that they are failing their cus- tomers.”

Mintz promised to double the number of inspections in supermarkets next year.

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