NORFOLK -- A series of state inspections at area Advance Auto Parts stores found that customers may not be paying what they see on the price tag for an item they grab off the shelf.
Inspectors with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Office of Weights and Measures first uncovered he problem during routine inspections that began in January 2013.
VDACS inspectors regularly visit stores throughout the state to ensure the prices labeled on an item match what customers are paying at the register.
During an inspection, inspectors pull a sample of items to be rung up at the register to see if the prices match. If five percent or more of the items ring up at a different price, the store fails its inspection.
According to inspection records obtained from VDACS, three Advance Auto Parts stores in Norfolk, Chesapeake and Virginia Beach have failed inspections this year.
None of the twenty other stores inspected in Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake or Virginia Beach failed inspection.
Scanner Report for Portsmouth
The first Advance Auto Parts store was inspected on January 16.
Records show five of the 100 items pulled for inspection at the Auburn Dr. location in Virginia Beach rang up at a different price than labeled on the shelf. The inspector wrote that he "stopped testing due to number of errors in a hundred items."
A follow-up inspection at that store found only one incorrect price tag and the store passed its inspection.
Scanner Report for Virginia Beach
Inspectors found more violations at the Advance Auto Parts on Tidewater Dr. in Norfolk.
In an inspection on January 28, four items rang up at a higher price than they were labeled on the shelf and one item rang up lower. The Tidewater Dr. store was inspected two more times after receiving its failing grade--once in March and again in November--and inspectors found no mislabeled prices.
Scanner Report for Norfolk
The most recent inspection came on November 18 at Advance Auto Parts on George Washington Hwy. in Chesapeake.
During that inspection, state inspectors found two items labeled with lower prices and three items labeled with higher prices. Two items were marked at prices more than $4 higher than they rang up.
The store in Chesapeake has not had a follow-up inspection yet.
Scanner Report for Chesapeake
Shelly Whitaker, a spokeswoman for Advance Auto Parts, emailed the following statement:
At Advance Auto Parts, we strive to ensure we maintain compliance across our chain of over 4000 stores. Not unlike many other retailers, our process to update prices on each peg does require manual/human intervention to ensure prices are appropriately labeled in each and every store. The particular stores that you referenced on that particular day may have not been able to update the prices swiftly enough for a myriad of reasons or could’ve been in the process of updating. The teams work swiftly to ensure the store gets back into compliance.
If you think you've paid to much you can call VDACS' consumer complaint line: 804-786-2476.