When you buy apples in a plastic bag, you should only pay for the weight of the apples. If you buy potato salad at the deli counter, you should pay only for the salad, not the weight of the container.

In many stores, the electronic or computerized scales used at the checkout counter are set to automatically deduct the weight of the packaging. On other scales, the sales clerk must adjust the scale to deduct the packaging materials.

Scales must be placed so you can see the weight. If you have a question, ask to have the package weighed again before you buy. Ask if the weight of the packaging has been deducted.

Weights and measures officials often visit stores to inspect and weigh prepackaged products. They also check the accuracy of the scales being used.

What You Can Do:

  • Watch the scale and the amount registered. The scale should be placed so you can see the weight, price and other information displayed.
  • Make sure the scale shows a zero or minus sign before anything is weighed. Pay ONLY for the product. NOT the packaging.
  • If you have any questions about how a store weighs or measures products, ask the manager for information first. He or she should answer your questions.
  • If the problem is not resolved, contact your local weights and measures office for advice or assistance.