Tasmania has again been revealed as one of the worst performers in a national audit of electronic price scanning systems.

The audit showed that in 85 per cent of Tasmanian stores surveyed at least one item scanned at a price that did not match the advertised or shelf price. That error rate was only exceeded in the ACT with 90 per cent. The best performing state was Victoria with 55 per cent.

According to director of Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading, Chris Batt, the results were a concern in that they had the potential to undermine consumer confidence.

“Tasmanians should be able to feel confident that they are being charged the right price at the checkout,” says Batt.

“The audit showed that incorrect scans were more likely to be in favour of consumers.

“The audit actually found that 86 per cent of all products in the sample scanned correctly, 13 per cent showed an error in favour of the customer and only three per cent were in the store’s favour,” he says.

More than 150 stores were visited as part of the survey conducted by consumer affairs agencies in each State and Territory. Retail outlets audited include pharmacies, service stations, hardware, discount and variety stores across metropolitan and regional areas. In all, more than 4000 individual items were scanned.

“The highest over-charge in Tasmania was $2.11 at a hardware store,” says Batt. “However, the biggest discrepancy in favour of a customer – $24.95 – was also at a hardware store.

“Nationally, the stores with lowest compliance were hardware stores and service stations.”
Retailers subject to the audit were immediately advised of the errors and asked to rectify the situation. Follow-up visits will be conducted, and if errors are again detected Consumer Affairs will consider prosecution action.
“The best advice is for consumers to check their dockets,” concludes Batt. “If you find a problem, talk to the store.  If you can’t resolve it there, report it to Consumer Affairs.”