NYC Recruits Supermarket Snitchers
New York City has launched a new outreach initiative to educate shoppers about their rights at the supermarket and deputize them to act as "secret shoppers" to report if they experience any overcharges. Complaints or abuses found can be tweeted to @NYCDCA using the hashtag #nickeled&dimed or posted to the Department of Consumer Affairs’ (DCA) Facebook page.
The new cyber-initiative is part of a two-year intensive crackdown on extensive illegal pricing practices at city supermarkets, according to a statement. Last August, the DCA announced that its yearlong inspection of supermarkets throughout the five boroughs resulted in a compliance rate of only 48 percent. Commissioner Jonathan Mintz vowed at the time to double the number of supermarket inspections in the next fiscal year. Midway through the next inspection period through January, 500 inspections found the compliance rate had dropped to 33 percent.
When the DCA announces this year’s results of its intensified crackdown in August, it will also relay stories that New Yorkers have shared so far through the #nickeled&dimed program.
In particular, DCA is urging shoppers to look for lack of prices on individual items, items incorrectly rung up at the register, advertised prices that don’t scan correctly at the register, a store’s failure to post the unit price on the shelf, and a failure to provide scales for weighing items sold by weight.
"New York consumers will make great ‘secret shoppers’ to tip us off to their own firsthand accounts about what’s happening at supermarket checkout counters," said Mr. Mintz. "We’ll also be sharing important consumer tips with our followers and fans."
- Department Of Consumer Affairs Launches #Nickeled&Dimed On Twitter And Facebook, Deputizing New Yorkers To Act As "Secret Shoppers" For Supermarket Overcharges – NYC Department of Consumer Affairs
- City’s supermarket posse – New York Post
Are the compliance issues discovered in New York City representative of other parts of the country? What do you think of the city’s plan to recruit consumers to help inspect supermarkets?