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Department of Agriculture, Weights & Measures

For Immediate Release

Sonoma County Weights and Measures advises shoppers to review sales receipts after rise in failed retail inspections

SANTA ROSA, CA | May 05, 2023

En español »

The Sonoma County Department of Agriculture/Weights & Measures is encouraging local shoppers to verify charges on all retail sales receipts after nearly 36 percent of local grocery stores and retail businesses failed a price accuracy inspection over the last 13 months, a 10 percent increase from the prior year. The county’s Weights and Measures division is responsible for conducting annual price accuracy inspections of all automated point of sale stations in the county under a 2006 ordinance enacted by the Board of Supervisors.

“In Sonoma County and throughout California, it is illegal for a retailer to charge a price higher than what is posted, advertised, or presented as the true price offered for sale,” said Andrew Smith, Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner – Sealer of Weights and Measures. “Customers rely on accurate prices so they can make good decisions on how to spend their money. Thanks to the county’s price verification program, businesses are being held accountable.”

A total of 648 price accuracy inspections were performed between March 2022 and April 2023. Of those, 232 businesses were found to have made mistakes resulting in notices of violation. Following a second inspection, 170 retailers remained out of compliance and were assessed an administrative penalty. County inspectors discovered 971 items were overcharged resulting in administrative penalties totaling $102,000.

According to department officials, local retailers have struggled to keep pace with accurate pricing following staff turnover during the pandemic and commodity price changes due to inflation. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported a 6.5 percent increase in the consumer price index for foods purchased at local grocery stores and supermarkets between December 2020 and December 2021. Beef, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, fats and oils, fresh fruits and other commodities saw significant increases in retail prices during this time. Food prices are predicted to continue to increase at a modest pace in 2022-2023.

The Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures investigates all consumer complaints related to pricing irregularities at local retailers. If you need to report a price overcharge or if you would like more information regarding Sonoma County’s Price Verification Program and Quantity Control Program in the Department of Agriculture/Weights & Measures, please call (707) 565-2371 or email

Media Contact: 
Dan Virkstis
(707) 565-3040
575 Administration Drive, Suite 104A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403