HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - When you fill up your gas tank or buy groceries at the deli, how do you know you are getting the exact amount that you're paying for?
News 3 looked into exactly what the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services does to protect you.
Weight and measurement regulations date back to 1799 when John Adams signed them into law.
Each state is required to set standards to make sure people are getting what they pay for – whether it’s a gallon of gas, a pound of lunch meat or the same price at the checkout scanner listed on the shelf, according to state officials.
“Our goal is to protect the consumer and the seller,” said Joel Maddux, Deputy Director for the Division of Consumer Protection.
According to their annual report, "During the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021, staff assigned to the Weights and Measures Program in the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) inspected 89,837 weighing and measuring devices used in commercial transactions in the Commonwealth, a three percent decrease from the previous year. The frequency of inspection per device is approximately 21 months. Staff also collected 4,629 motor fuel samples and investigated 375 consumer complaints."
“Customers will actually see a big red sticker on anything that says, 'rejection,' or, 'condemnation,'” said Maddux.
If a device is rejected, the business can still operate normally. They say they just need to fix the issue.
The I-Team requested the letters of violations that were sent out to businesses that were fined.
In our region, one gas station was fined for having water in the gas, and another for not having a price clearly listed.
“It’s a rare occasion, but it does happen,” said Maddux.
He said the ultimate goal is to create a level playing field and to prevent unfair competition in the marketplace.
“I think it’s important for the public to know that there are people like our weights and measures inspectors who are out there protecting them and looking out for them when they’re conducting business in the Commonwealth,” said Maddux.