Beginning in May 2016, the Weights and Measures Program of the Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM) will post on the VAAFM website information about its enforcement actions against businesses that have violated Vermont laws designed to protect consumers in the marketplace. The information posted will include business names and locations, types of violations, and penalties.
“Sharing information about agency enforcement actions is an important and necessary step for us to take in serving the public,” says Henry Marckres, VAAFM Consumer Protection Chief. “It is our goal to make information available to the public so that consumers can make informed choices about where they shop. The processes, devices, and commodities regulated by the Weights and Measures Program impact every person who shops for food and other consumer products in Vermont, heats a Vermont home with heating fuel, and buys gasoline at a Vermont gas station. Integrity in these systems is imperative.”
Housed within VAAFM’s Consumer Protection Section, the Weights and Measures Program strives to advance a safe and secure supply of food and goods within a marketplace that provides fair and equal access to consumers and producers while enhancing Vermont’s working landscape, rural character and local economies. The Weights and Measures Program tests and inspects commercial devices used in trade to protect consumers and ensure equity in the marketplace. Inspectors conduct hundreds of price verification inspections annually at retail establishments to evaluate the pricing integrity of retail stores’ scanning systems and signage. They also inspect over 6,000 gas pumps, 425 fuel oil truck meters, 225 propane truck meters, and thousands of scales and packages each year. When violations are found, the Weights and Measures Program provides technical assistance and takes appropriate enforcement action.
Responding to consumer concerns is a top priority for the Consumer Protection Section. Its inspectors respond to complaints from the public regarding everything from short measure on gas pumps, oil truck meters, sawdust, and seafood, to the quality of fuel, maple syrup, and firewood. Consumers with concerns regarding shortages in weights of products, delivery of fuel, or prices of items scanned in retail stores can call or email the Consumer Protection Section at 802-828-2426 or AGR.HELPDESK@vermont.gov.
For more serious violations, the Consumer Protection Section works closely with the Attorney General's Office Consumer Protection Unit to ensure compliance.