Scanner problems continue at Kmart

July 4, 2008 8:33:42 AM PDT
For the last year and a half, the Kmart on Capital Boulevard in Raleigh has truly tested the shoppers' attention span. The store keeps over charging customers. While the state continues to fine the store thousands of dollars, shoppers like Judy Allen keep going to the store. "It's just so convenient. I can just run in," Judy said.

Two months ago Eyewitness News revealed how K-Mart has, by far, the worst record in the state for price scanner over-charges. This store first failed a state price inspection 18 months ago.

During one test, Jerry Butler, and inspector with the Department of Agriculture explains, "The first item was $7 overcharged. A pair of jeans." Butler adds, "Kids pants $5 overcharged, and then again and again. This is all at K-Mart."

After seven failed price inspections, we went undercover ourselves, inside the Capital Boulevard K-mart. We bought 50 items and were overcharged on six of them. The state allows a pricing error rate of only two percent. State regulators say they've never seen anything like this. "Ahh, never. I figured one civil penalty would take care it," Butler said.

The state Department of Agriculture has since slapped this Kmart with fines, totaling more than $20,000. After our first investigation, the state tested Kmart again. The results? You guessed it. Kmart price scanners failed again.

"They told us when we went back, that they were ready for us," Butler explained, "And lo and behold, they didn't pass again. And the store manager was shocked."

Kmart's manager had little to say as he escorted off the property. "Please go on top of the hill. OK?" The manager said.

When shoppers hear the track record, some wonder and some believe these scanner errors are intentional. "If they're aware of it, which they've got to be, then why isn't it getting any better?" One shopper mentioned.

State inspectors don't think the errors are intentional, but they can't explain why testers find more overcharges than undercharges. "That's a good question." Butler said. "I do not know."

Inspectors say scanner mistakes are on the rise throughout the state. "We're just scratching the surface, just enough to prove the store has problems. But there are more problems that keep coming to light," Butler said.

So when in comes to the barcode - it really is buyer beware.


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