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Consumer Affairs Going After Cheating NYC Supermarkets

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(Photo by Stephen Chernin/Getty Images)

(Photo by Stephen Chernin/Getty Images)

Tony Aiello thumbnail Tony Aiello
Tony Aiello serves as a CBS 2 general assignment reporter. After...
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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Enough is enough for New York City supermarkets.

Jonathan Mintz, the commissioner for the Department of Consumer Affairs, said his department is going after supermarkets hard this year.

The Department will double supermarket inspections this year in an effort to prevent consumers from being taken advantage of.

“If these fines are just the cost of doing the business, then we’re going to double that cost of business and see whether that gets supermarkets to invest in getting it right at the checkout counter,” he said.

1010 WINS Reporter Terry Sheridan talks with shoppers who have encountered faulty pricing.

Right now, supermarkets are getting away with overcharging customers due to lax efforts in stores to keep pricing in check, he said, and that’s about to end.

Fort Greene resident Fred Chase said he’s learned to check carefully after checking out from the Pioneer Supermarket in Fort Greene.

“My wife always keeps the receipt – when she gets home, she looks at it,” he told CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.

That supermarket racked up more fines from the Department of Consumer Affairs last year than any other in the city: a whopping $11,000.

“Supermarkets are not only overcharging people because they’re not investing in getting it right in the checkout counter, but they’re benefiting from the fact that these smaller amounts aren’t going to get individual customers to put enough pressure on them,” he said.

Inspectors make sure items are scanned properly and weighed correctly, that special deals ring up as they should, and that sales tax is charged appropriately.

“Last year we found horrible compliance across the city,” Mintz said. “Basically one in two times, our inspector was finding a supermarket was failing its inspections.”

Brooklyn buyers need to be especially aware – of the 25 stores that racked up the most violations, 17 were in Brooklyn.

Supermarkets earned fines totaling thousands of dollars, but the DCA continues to find violations.

All of these violations fall on the consumers.

“There’s a lot going on at the checkout counter, and the ability to remember every price at the shelf is not the consumer’s job,” Mintz said.

Sound Off! Do you think you’ve been ripped off at the supermarket? Tell us where it was and what happened in our comments section below.

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