a customer is checking a price tag

Tips for Businesses & Consumers

State and county law prohibits charging a customer more than the price that is advertised, posted, or quoted.

Tips for businesses to ensure accurate pricing

State and county law prohibits charging a customer more than the price that is advertised, posted, or quoted. Good pricing practices are not only required by law. They also maintain the confidence and trust of your customers. The following are a number of best practices for businesses. Use them. Accurate pricing is a good indicator of quality service.

Top-down pricing policy

Good company ethics come from the top. Communicate clearly that accurate pricing, customer service, and fair dealing are top priorities of the company. Emphasize that it is your policy to charge the lawful and current sales price. Create a system of employee incentives and rewards to encourage compliance. Encourage employees to improve and comment on pricing and complaint procedures. Appoint a sales or pricing manager who can see that each cash register is accurately programmed to charge the current sale price.

Update your sales procedures

Write procedures to promptly notify staff of special sales and price changes. Frequently check to make sure that employees are complying with your procedures. Good sales procedures include the following:

  • Use cash registers that display prices so that customers can see what they are being charged.
  • Post notices of special sales prices at each cash register to remind customers and your employees of the correct price.
  • Promptly remove promotional signs and prices as soon as a sale ends.
  • Make sure that advertising and in-store signs clearly indicate which items are on sale and those that are not.

Update your complaint procedures

Create clear procedures for handling customer complaints. Good complaint procedures include the following:

  • Resolve pricing disputes and other customer complaints “on the spot.”
  • Welcome complaints as an opportunity to improve customer service and build customer loyalty.
  • Make amends to customers who have been incorrectly charged or treated discourteously. Offer them free items or future discounts.
  • Conduct in-house, undercover audits to assure that those pricing policies are followed.
  • Keep records of complaints to learn where improvement is needed.
  • Reward and publicly commend employees who serve customers especially well.
  • Designate a local or regional contact to work with consumer protection agencies that may receive complaints involving your business.


Los Angeles County is strongly committed to accuracy in pricing and the fair and lawful treatment of consumers. County inspectors work full-time as undercover shopping investigators. They ensure that retailers using scanners are registered and are charging the advertised, posted, or quoted price. The Board of Supervisors enacted this ordinance because surveys by inspectors found unlawful scanner overcharges on more than one out of 10 items purchased. For more information on scanner registration and enforcement, contact the Los Angeles County Agricultural Commissioner/Weights and Measures at (800) 665-2900 or visit their website. County of Los Angeles Department of Consumer and Business Affairs. Last change: Dec. 1, 2013

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