Weights & Measures Alerts
Device and Commodity Inspection
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Today, Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey filed suit against Dollar General for deceptive and unfair pricing in its more than 600 retail stores throughout the state. The lawsuit asserts that Dollar General violated Missouri’s consumer protection laws by advertising one price at the shelf and charging a higher price at the register upon checkout.
“As long as I’m Attorney General, my office will always pursue those who attempt to rip off Missouri consumers,” said Attorney General Bailey. “Prices are at an all-time high; the last thing Missourians need is to feel the brunt of Dollar General’s scheme. We will move forward undeterred in our fight to obtain full restitution for all affected.”
Attorney General Bailey is seeking an injunction, full restitution, civil penalties, and other relief for violation of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act.
The petition states, “Dollar General is routinely overcharging Missouri consumers for every day staples and the necessities of life. Worse still, consumers are being deceived as to the prices they are actually paying for these items. Candles, toilet paper, lip balm, lemonade, tire foam and drink coolers all have one thing in common at Dollar General stores across the state of Missouri: the prices charged at the point of sale are frequently higher than the prices listed on the shelf.”
The Attorney General’s Office conducted the investigation with the Missouri Department of Agriculture Weights and Measures Division, which is responsible for surveilling weighing and measuring devices such as price scanners in retail stores.
The joint investigation revealed “92 of the 147 locations where investigations were conducted failed inspection. Price discrepancies ranged up to as much as $6.50 per item, with an average overcharge of $2.71 for the over 5,000 items price checked by investigators.”
“Ensuring price verification and accuracy is one of the key components of the Missouri Department of Agriculture through our Weights, Measures and Consumer Protection Division,” said Missouri Department of Agriculture Director Chris Chinn. “I applaud the Attorney General for working with our Weights and Measures team to protect Missouri consumers by ensuring that the price charged at checkout matches the advertised price on the shelf.”
Attorney General Bailey encourages citizens who have been overcharged by retail stores to file a complaint with his office by calling the Consumer Protection hotline at 800-392-8222 or submitting a complaint online at ago.mo.gov.
Today, the Missouri Department of Agriculture issued a consumer alert to advise Missourians that the Corn Xpress Bulk Corn Vending Machine is not-legal-for-trade in the state of Missouri. The machine is advertised as an agricultural vending machine that can dispense products such as corn, wheat, protein pellets and rock salt.
The Missouri Department of Agriculture's Weights, Measures and Consumer Protection team originally learned about the devices in November 2018. Since then, the team has attempted to work with the company to find a resolution without success.
Missourians and small businesses have purchased these devices, which cost tens of thousands of dollars, believing they are legal. However, devices have been removed from service in Sikeston, Jackson, Advance and Wappapallo because they do not meet standards set forth in state law. Additionally, devices have been removed from service in other states including the state in which they are manufactured “Mississippi".
The device is not-legal-for-trade in the state of Missouri because of the following primary issues:
- Weighing: The machine sells the commodity by weight, but has no weighing mechanism within the device, which violates Missouri's Method of Sale law.
- Accuracy: The device also has no method for verifying its accuracy. The machines have not been manufactured to meet National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) or National Weights & Measures Conference NTEP standards for legal trade. These industry standards exist as established methods for verifying the accuracy of the device.
- Seal: The device has no sealing mechanism and no method of security to ensure that contents are not tampered with.
The Missouri Department of Agriculture has requested the company adhere to several provisions. Those provisions include marking the device not-legal-for-trade, or providing a similar disclosure on copies of all invoices and delivery tickets in the State of Missouri. Additionally, the Department has asked Corn Xpress to notify individuals and businesses in Missouri that have purchased or received Corn Xpress devices that the device is not-legal-for trade. At this time all requests have gone unanswered by the company.
Corn Xpress was issued a Notice of Violation to ensure no additional machines were sold in Missouri.
If consumers have any questions or concerns, please contact the Weights, Measures and Consumer Protection Division by phone at (573) 751-5638 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.