Indoor Shopping Mall

Holiday Shopping, Check Those Prices

Author: Brenda Ouwerkerk / Chief Deputy Agricultural Commissioner
Date: 12/7/2017 6:00 AM

Holiday shoppers are reminded to check prices and receipts for accuracy during this busy season for retailers

The 2017 holiday shopping season is in full swing.  As quick as shoppers are moving about to fulfill their shopping list, so are businesses and employees in their efforts to maintain inventory levels while updating ever changing prices from sale advertisements.

Retailers in San Luis Obispo County will be at their busiest with purchases, fulfilling online orders and maintaining customer satisfaction levels.  Discount pricing takes on many forms and offers incentive for customers to make purchases.  However if the price charged at the register is more than the lowest posted or advertised price, then any expected savings may be lost.  This creates an unfair marketplace and is also misleading to customers.  Overcharging is against the law and often is not intentional, but rather an oversight by the business when updating promotional prices. 

“Retailers know it’s the law to have accurate prices.  However, the potential for inadvertent overcharges is greater during the Christmas season because of the higher volume of sales and the rapidly changing discounts that are offered,” said Martin Settevendemie, San Luis Obispo County’s Agricultural Commissioner and Sealer of Weights and Measures.

To protect consumers from being overcharged, Settevendemie offers the following tips:

• Pay close attention to prices posted on store shelves, on the item, along with in store and online advertisements before you buy an item to ensure you are charged the lowest advertised price at the cash register.

• Stores are required to clearly display to the purchaser the price of each item on the cash register screen before the transaction is completed.  Watch the display screen as items are scanned.  If you believe you are overcharged, bring it to the attention of the cashier and ask for the lower price.

• Review your receipt before leaving the store.  If you are overcharged, contact the store  manager and request that the store policy on overcharges be provided to you.  In some cases the store policy may provide for further discounts or call for the overcharged item to be given to the customer free of charge.

Inspectors from the San Luis Obispo County Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures routinely inspect retail stores to confirm that posted prices are correctly charged at the register.  Consumers should contact Weights and Measures at (805) 781-5910 to file a complaint if they experience any overcharge.  For more information visit the department’s website at