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Simple tips for back-to-school shopping success

MADISON – Store shelves are lined with supplies and advertisements are chock full of deals – the back-to-school shopping season is here again.  If you are in the market for backpacks, markers, folders, tablets, clothing and more, retailers statewide are ready for your business.  To make sure you get your money’s worth at the register, take these tips from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) along with your shopping list.

“The back-to-school season is a very competitive time for Wisconsin retailers, providing consumers with a number of ways to save on class supplies, new clothes and electronics,” said Frank Frassetto, Division Administrator for Trade and Consumer Protection.  “With so many items on sale and so many different types of products crossing the scanner, consumers should pay close attention to the register and to their receipts to ensure that they receive the advertised prices for their purchases.”

Follow these simple tips to ensure that you are charged correctly:

• Before setting out for your shopping run, review the advertisements for restrictions on quantities, sale hours, returns and rain checks.  Check store policies on price matching to consolidate your run.

• Write down prices or special sales while you shop to have a better sense of the final total before you hit the register. Most pricing errors occur on sale items.

• Keep an eye on the display screen while your items are being scanned.  Speak up if you think you have been overcharged for an item.

• If there is a pricing error, Wisconsin law requires that a store refund any overcharge amount.  Work with customer service to receive a refund while you are in the store.  Double check your receipt before you leave to ensure that the totals are correct.

• Report pricing errors to state or local inspectors.  To file a weights and measures complaint with DATCP’s Weights and Measures Bureau, send an e-mail to datcpweightsandmeasures@wi.gov or call 608-224-4942.

• When you are finished shopping, save your receipts and submit any rebates immediately.

Every year DATCP’s Weights and Measures team visits stores statewide to test for price accuracy, and the results show that consumers pay correct prices at Wisconsin stores an overwhelming majority of the time.  In 2015, DATCP inspectors tested more than 68,000 items for price accuracy, and found that prices were accurate or registered in the consumers’ favor 99% of the time.  Even so, it doesn’t hurt to keep these back-to-school shopping tips in mind during this busy shopping season.

For additional information, visit datcp.wisconsin.gov or contact the Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-422-7128 or by e-mail: datcphotline@wisconsin.gov. Connect on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wiconsumer