Commercial Device Program
Governments have long recognized the importance of maintaining integrity and trust in the buying and selling of goods in local market places. It is for this reason that commercial (legal for trade) devices are highly regulated by law. The accuracy, application and proper use of these devices are crucial in determining a value of a commercial transaction between buyers and sellers.
Sonoma County families purchase commodities daily over devices, whose accuracy, is vital in determining the value of those commodities. A typical family may fuel the family car by using a retail-fuel meter at their local retail fuel station. A parent may stop at the local grocery store to purchase meat and produce that will be used to make the families meal. The value of those goods, in all likelihood, was determined over a commercial scale.
Here are just a few of the commercial devices used to purchase the goods and services you might use on a daily basis:
Retail motor-fuel meters:
Commonly referred to as "fuel pumps", these fuel meters are used to sell fuel for motor vehicles. According to the California Energy Commission, over 12.2 Billion gallons of gasoline and 1.3 Billion gallons of diesel fuel was sold in California in 2012. Motor fuel plays an vital role in the movement of goods and services across the state.
Grocery store deli scales:
The value of many of the products consumers purchase at their local grocery store are determined by scales. Check-out scales are used to weigh the value of your produce, such as bananas, tomatoes, and broccoli as well as the any meat products purchased at the meat deli.
Utilities such as electric, gas and water are metered over a sub-meter in local mobile home parks and apartments. Weights and Measures has jurisdiction over locations
Taxi meters are used to charge a customer for the distance and/or time it takes to drive you across town or to the airport.
Laws Governing Commercial Devices
California law requires commercial device, owner-operators, to register their devices with their local county weighs and measures authority. The device registration fees are set by state law and can be found in California's Business and Professions Code, Article 2, Section §12240.
Registration and inspection of "legal for trade" devices by local county officials ensure that the local market economy is on an even playing field for both buyers and sellers of goods and services.
Frequently Asked Questions
I use a scale to buy and sell fresh produce on my property. Do I have to register my scale?
Yes, any commercial device used to buy and sell or to charge for a service, are considered "legal for trade" devices" that must be registered with local weights and measures. This requirement is written in state law.
Can I use any scale to buy and sell produce or other goods?
No, commercial scales or "legal for trade" scales are strictly regulated and must be approved for commerce by either California's Division of Measurement Standards (DMS) Type Evaluation Program (CTEP) or the National Type Evaluation Program (NTEP). Approved scales are rigorously tested for required specifications and performance measurements. Once they are approved for commercial applications, the manufacturer of the device is given a certificate of conformance, which allows them to sell the device as a "legal for trade" device. These requirements apply to all commercial devices which includes weighing, measuring and timing devices.
How do I know if the scale I wish to buy is approved for commercial application?
You can specify to the company you are purchasing the scale from that you are interested in a "legal for trade" scale. You can also call our office to assist you in determining if the scale you are interested in is approved for commercial application.
As a local business, how much will it cost me to register my scale?
That depends on your type of business and the number of commercial devices used to buy and sell commodities. Commercial device registration fees are set and capped by California law. You can review our current fees list posted on our site: Weights & Measures Fees Schedule.