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Report: City Supermarkets May Be Ripping You Off

NEW YORK (CBS New York) -- If you shop in a city supermarket, you may be getting ripped off on how much you pay for your groceries.

Consumer Affairs said Wednesday the last time they performed inspections of overpriced, improperly taxed or inaccurate scanners, about half of the supermarkets flunked.

WCBS 880's Rich Lamb reports these failures have come despite stepped up inspections in the latest sweep. During the latest round of inspections, two out of three supermarkets failed.


WCBS 880 Reporter Rich Lamb finds out how you may be getting ripped off.

"This is a prevalent problem. This is not nitpicking. This is not a survey of 20 stores. This is not just a couple of consumer complaints. This is what's happening across the city in our supermarkets," said Commissioner Jonathan Mintz.

Stan Brooks of 1010 WINS' reports the number of inspections has doubled, but Mintz said the problem is worse than ever.


1010 WINS Reporter Stan Brooks gets details from Commissioner Mintz.

Mintz said he's frustrated and mystified. The supermarkets charged are facing a total of $310,000 in fines and Mintz said those penalties may have to be increased.

Know your rights at the register:

Advertised Items -- Ads must truthfully describe the name, variety and size of the item on sale and list any purchase restrictions. Stores must make reasonable quantities available.

Scales -- Markets must have a scale within 30 feet of their prepackaged food sections. Check for short weight and the tare weight deduction — the deduction taken for the weight of the empty container from the gross weight. The scale must have a DCA seal on it, start at zero, and come to rest before weight or price is quoted.

Unit Pricing -- The unit price — the cost per measure (pound, pint, etc.) — must be listed on the shelf below most products.

Item Pricing -- All market commodities sold or offered for sale in New York City must have a stamp, tag or label giving the item's cost, except: baby food in jars, tobacco, bulk-food sales, vending machine products, display items at the end of the aisle, eggs, food sold for on-premise consumption, fresh produce, items on sale for seven days or less, milk, snack foods and some frozen foods.

"Open" or "Freshness" Dates -- These dates show the last recommended sale or use date, and must be marked on perishable food product packages, such as egg cartons, dairy products and baked goods.

Packaged Products -- The product's identity, net weight, measure or numerical count, and the name and address of the distributor must appear on its label.

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