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Weights & Measures

Related Pages: Inspectional Services » Housing/Health Inspections

The Weights & Measures section inspects, tests and seals weighing and measuring devices to ensure that residents of the City receive accurate measures of commodities purchased and that equity prevails between the buyers and sellers.

Q:
What do I do if I want to file a complaint?
 A:

The first thing you want to do is collect as much information as available. For example, if you are in a supermarket and there is a problem with a scale, we need to know register number or department, location, or gas pump number and grade of gas; we also need to know the location of the establishment, and any information that you might think is pertinent. Then, call us at (508) 799-8594.

Q:
What are the dimensions of a cord of wood?
 A:

One hundred and twenty-eight (128) cubic feet. Stack your wood neatly by placing the wood in a row, with these pieces touching and parallel to each other, and with as few gaps as possible. Multiply the length times the width times the height of the stack. If this equals one hundred and twenty-eight (128) cubic feet, then you have a cord of wood. Common measurements of a cord of wood are 16 feet by 2 feet by 4 feet.

Q:
I have a 20-gallon gas tank, but the pump says I put in 20.5 gallons into an empty tank. Can this be possible?
 A:

Yes. The size of your gasoline tank stated in your owner's manual is only an estimate. The actual volume it holds can be higher or lower than the stated size. But if you still feel that the pump is inaccurate, file a complaint; and we will investigate it.

Q:
What is Tare Weight?
 A:

This is the weight of all wrapping, packaging, or any other material used to contain or transport the product. Items must be sold by net weight (the weight of the product itself). Selling a product by gross weight (net weight + tare weight) is illegal.

Q:
How often do you check commercial weighing and measuring devices?
 A:

We inspect, test and seal these annually. To determine if we have sealed the device, look for a current Weights & Measures seal. For example, in this City we use two types of seals, a vinyl seal which you would find on scales and at gas pumps, and aluminum seals which would be found on taxi-meters and oil truck meters. These seals change color every year. For even years the color would be green; for odd years the color would be red.

Q:
What do you do if you find a device to be in error?
 A:

We place a "CONDEMNED TAG" on the device, which means the device is taken out of service until it has been repaired by a certified repair person. We will reinspect the device to verify that it is in compliance with the law.

Q:
How can I avoid being overcharged at the register or when my items are scanned?
 A:

The best way to avoid being overcharged is to have itemized lists of what you are purchasing with self price on it so you will be able to compare them at the checkout register. Receipts are very helpful in our investigations as evidence.

Q:
What should I do if I am overcharged?
 A:

If you feel that you have been overcharged for an item or items, first alert the cashier, asking the cashier to enter the correct price. If this process does not solve the problem, ask to see the store manager to correct the error. This should correct the problem, but if not, contact the Weights & Measures Unit; and we will investigate the complaint. If the overcharge is found, a civil citation will be issued. Receipts are very helpful in our investigations as evidence.

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