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Shaw's punished for pricing law violations

Posted by Mitch Lipka  July 8, 2013 10:17 AM

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Shaw's supermarkets was fined $8,000 for flunking three of four inspections conducted by state consumer protection officials to see whether Massachusetts grocery stores are complying with the new state pricing law, the state Division of Standards said today.

Under the new law, grocery stores can apply for a waiver of the item pricing law -- which requires each item to have a price sticker -- if they provide price scanners in aisles or offer handheld scanners to allow consumer to check prices. Prices must still be posted on shelves.

While state inspectors found that all grocery stores delivered accurate scanner readings at the register for 10 items commonly used in summer cookouts, three of four Shaw's store did not have the scanners available for shoppers and had not sought waivers. That means the stores must still put price stickers on individual grocery items.

Because of that, Shaw's will face a far larger inspection.

“What we found during the course of our investigation was concerning enough that the Division of Standards will be sending staff out to all Shaw’s Supermarkets in the Commonwealth to ensure that the item pricing law is being followed,” said Barbara Anthony, who runs the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.

Stores violating the law can be fined up to $200 for every item that does not have a price label.

The state included the prices reported at the grocery stores in its survey, showing just how different costs can be for consumers at different grocery store chains.

“The Division of Standards conducts regular item pricing inspections to ensure that items are properly labeled and scanners are working,” said DOS Director Charles Carroll. “Based on our most recent findings, the Division is going to expand our survey into other Shaw’s locations to ensure they are in compliance with the law.”

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About the author

Mitch Lipka is one of America's leading consumer journalists and advocates. He is an expert in product safety, recalls, scams, and helping consumers get out of jams. He is a nationally known consumer columnist and runs He lives in Worcester. You can find him on Facebook or reach him at


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