The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is pleased to report that consumer confidence in the accuracy of Wisconsin businesses remained high in 2021. During National Weights and Measures Week, March 1 – 7, we recognize the critical role that DATCP’s inspectors, lab teams, and support staff play in ensuring a fair marketplace for Wisconsin consumers.
“Throughout the year, DATCP inspectors examine scales, registers, gas pumps, and check fuel quality at stores around the state to ensure precision at every transaction point,” said Division of Trade and Consumer Protection Administrator Lara Sutherlin. “In 2021, DATCP inspectors conducted a record number of inspections, and results showed Wisconsin businesses delivered fair transactions for consumers at scales, registers, and pumps.”
DATCP’s Bureau of Weights and Measures team conducted 315,166 inspections at 6,830 business locations statewide in 2021. Inspection results followed the trends of recent years:
Wisconsin gas pumps continued to provide the correct amount of fuel, or even over-deliver, in nearly 100% of DATCP tests. Prices at the register were accurate or in the customer’s favor in 98.3% of DATCP tests. Tests conducted on scales used to weigh products sold by weight (such as meat, deli, and produce items) were accurate or measured in the customer’s favor 99.8% of the time. Packaged products sold by weight (such as ground beef) were labeled accurately in 98.3% of DATCP tests.
DATCP’s metrology lab tested 4,634 fuel samples for quality last year, and 98.5% of the samples met the required national standards. In early 2022, the metrology lab staff also obtained the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Echelon II Accreditation, expanding measurement capabilities. Echelon II measurements are classified as fine accuracy, expanding DATCP’s ability to test jewelry scales.
When DATCP inspectors identify inaccurate measurements or prices, they report violations to store management and issue orders to correct the problem. In 2021, DATCP inspectors issued 5,765 of these orders and conducted 846 re-inspections to ensure that corrections had been made.
If necessary, DATCP can also take steps toward higher-level enforcement. In 2021, Weights and Measures inspections resulted in civil forfeiture settlements totaling $204,246 from companies after fuel quality violations, product quantity misrepresentations, or weights and measures service company violations.