Price Verification

BarcodeThe Shasta County Department of Weights and Measures is mandated by state law to protect the interests of the buyer and seller in order to eliminate unfair business practices, unfair competition, and assure the integrity of everyday business transactions.

Many stores use electronic scanners or price look-up systems to determine the price at the register. Some scanners are hand-held and some are integrated into a countertop or weighing device. Once the scanner has read the bar code on the item, the price is recorded and added to the register receipt. Price look-up systems use code numbers that tell the computer what the identity and correct price of the item is. These are commonly used for produce in grocery stores or stock items in auto parts stores.

The Shasta County Department of Weights and Measures performs periodic inspections and test purchases at businesses utilizing scanners and price look-up systems. State law requires that the consumer be charged the lowest price posted, advertised, or quoted for which the customer qualifies. The impacts of incorrect pricing can be far reaching; many large chain stores determine their pricing through a central computer. An error in one store can actually be an error in all of them.

What you can do:

  • Watch as the price of the item displays on the register read-out.
  • Ask the clerk to check the price if you think the scanned price is incorrect.
  • Be sure you have presented the store with any coupons or club cards required for the best advertised price. Be sure you have met minimum purchase requirements if they are stated.
  • If the scanned price does not reflect the lowest posted, advertised, or quoted price you are qualified for, ask the store manager to correct it.
  • Check the cash register receipt and save it in case you have questions or a problem later on.


Some of our activities include:

  • Investigating complaints of unfair business practices such as advertising an item that is not offered for sale.
  • Assuring food stores with automated checkout systems post a price for most items.
  • Protecting businesses from unfair competition and pricing complaints.
  • Helping businesses to comply with California Laws and Regulations pertaining to correct pricing.
  • Investigating consumer complaints of incorrect or unfair pricing practices.


Price Verification Links

California Department of Measurement Standards