'Sweetheart deals' at AZ retailers put to the testPosted: Updated:
Four Arizona retailers pitching "sweetheart deals" in advance of Valentine's Day face fines for scanning discrepancies, Arizona state inspectors said.
The Arizona Department of Weights and Measures inspected diamond and gold jewelry, designer perfume, cologne and lingerie to verify if the price advertised was really what consumers paid at the cash register.
Department officials conducted 29 unannounced inspections at retail businesses statewide ranging from big department stores to smaller clothing chains, box stores and specialty women's clothing and lingerie departments in January through early February.
While a 98 percent compliance rating was achieved overall, inspectors found a surprising number of scanning discrepancies resulting in $1,500 in civil penalties to the four individual retailers. In one instance, the store's Valentine Day sales were not showing up at the register as a result of data base issues.
Of the 29 inspections, state officials scanned 1,425 individual Valentine's Day products for price accuracy, 19 of which were found to be charging more than what was advertised, or $78.49 in unwarranted overcharges.
Undercharges dominated the scanning inaccuracies, inspectors said. Results indicate 70 products actually scanned less than the price advertised totaling $450 in savings to consumers.
The inspections involved department officials selecting at random items from the lingerie, jewelry and perfume/cologne departments totaling 50 items, and then scanning the items at the cash register.
Inspection data revealed the prominent area of consumer overcharges was found in the perfume department, where prices ranged from $6.99 to $150 per bottle.
The area where the consumer benefited the most due to undercharges was in the jewelry department where $204.91 was discovered and items inspected ranged from $4.49 to $3,800.
Lingerie prices were generally found to be the most accurate where prices ranged from $7.00 to $150.
Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.