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Frequently Asked Questions of Weights & Measures By Tom Geiler Regulatory Services Director Town of Barnstable.

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Presentation on theme: "Frequently Asked Questions of Weights & Measures By Tom Geiler Regulatory Services Director Town of Barnstable."— Presentation transcript:

1 Frequently Asked Questions of Weights & Measures By Tom Geiler Regulatory Services Director Town of Barnstable

2 Frequently Asked Questions What is weights & measures? What is weights & measures? Weights & Measures is a service of government that ensures a level playing field in the marketplace between consumers and merchants. What does weights & measures do for you? What does weights & measures do for you? Our job is to inspect commercial weighing or measuring devices that are used each day in the marketplace. Weights & Measures Inspectors are responsible for devices like gasoline meters and scales of all sizes and application. We also inspect scanning systems in retail stores, price marking in food stores & food departments and we also check net weights. We work to provide a balance in daily commerce.

3 Frequently Asked Questions Is weights & measures a consumer protection group? Is weights & measures a consumer protection group? No. Weights & Measures exists to bring equity to daily commerce. We are an organization that watches out for both the consumer AND the merchant. From time to time we will respond to a complaint generated by a consumer. Our department will also work with a merchant when needed, to help resolve an issue the business may have regarding a discrepancy. How can I put 17.6 gallons into a tank that only holds 17 gallons? How can I put 17.6 gallons into a tank that only holds 17 gallons? The stated capacity in the owner’s manual is just an estimate and is not exact. The tank is not an accurate measure and should not be held to the stated capacity size in the manual. Depending on the size of the tank in your car, it may hold ½ gallon to 2 gallons more than stated. Certain other factors need consideration. Did you pump and then keep pumping after the shut off was activated? Did you fill the vapor head space? Or is the fill pipe now full of gasoline? Is the ground level or is it uneven? If a complaint is filed, the inspector will head to the station and take a test draft. The complainant is notified of the findings either way. A portable gasoline container should also be considered an estimate only.

4 Frequently Asked Questions Am I responsible for the gasoline that spills on the pavement if the automatic shut off mechanism of the nozzle fails to operate? Am I responsible for the gasoline that spills on the pavement if the automatic shut off mechanism of the nozzle fails to operate? Yes. It is commonly understood that you are responsible and or liable for refueling your vehicle. You should stand close to the nozzle in case such an incident happens. What should I do if I suspect there is water in the gas or the gas is bad? What recourse do I have to fix my car? What should I do if I suspect there is water in the gas or the gas is bad? What recourse do I have to fix my car? Notify the station of problem so an attendant can check to see if there is in fact water in the tank. Notify your local weights & measures office as soon as possible, as it will follow up on the complaint. An inspector will check the tank for water by applying a water detection paste which will change color if water is present. The inspector will also receive a Veeder Root print out which indicates the presence of water. If the gasoline at the station is the root of the problem, the station may be liable for the damages.

5 Frequently Asked Questions How will I know if I have water in my fuel tank? How will I know if I have water in my fuel tank? Your vehicle may have water in the tank if it is running poorly, rough and/or stops running all together. If water is present in the fuel, your car would stop running about a quarter of a mile from the station. Depending upon the amount of fuel pumped, your car may not make it out of the station’s lot. Water generally will not ruin a car’s engine, but it can be a costly repair because the gas lines and the tank need to be drained and cleaned. This may cost between $500 and $1,000 on average. Do you check the octane levels at gasoline dispensers? Do you check the octane levels at gasoline dispensers? Some inspectors will perform an octane level test at the time of the annual inspection. Others will check the octane level only if a complaint has been filed.

6 Frequently Asked Questions What is a “jump” or a “creep”? What is a “jump” or a “creep”? A jump occurs when a pump is activated and does not start at zero. In other words, the dispenser starts to register gallons and a monetary value before any fuel is dispensed. A creep on the other hand, occurs when the gallons and monetary value continues to register after the nozzle is returned to the dispenser. Can static electricity cause a fire while fueling my vehicle at the station? Can static electricity cause a fire while fueling my vehicle at the station? Yes. Fortunately, however, this is not a common occurrence when fueling a vehicle. The chances are higher during cold or cold/dryer climate conditions.

7 Frequently Asked Questions How can I avoid the build up of static electricity when fueling my vehicle? How can I avoid the build up of static electricity when fueling my vehicle? Static electricity is caused by re-entering a vehicle during fueling. When the motorist returns to the vehicle fill pipe, the static may discharge at the fill point. With the gasoline vapors present, the discharge may create a flash fire or small sustained fire. Before returning to the nozzle, you need to ground yourself by first touching a piece of metal a way from the filling point, such as the door, with your bare hand. This will discharge any build-up of static electricity. The best way to avoid the build up of static electricity is to remain outside the vehicle when fueling. In the event that a static caused fire does occur when fueling, leave the nozzle in the fill pipe and move away from the vehicle. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO DIS-ENGAGE THE NOZZLE FROM THE VEHICLE. Notify attendant or cashier IMMEDIATELY. What other safety tips should I follow when fueling my vehicle or approved portable container? What other safety tips should I follow when fueling my vehicle or approved portable container? 1. Turn off your vehicle engine. 2. Turn off and do not use a cell phone while at the pump. 3. Extinguish any smoking materials prior to arriving at the pump. Do not light any matches or a lighter when pumping or using gasoline anywhere. 4. Never chock a nozzle to the open position. 5. Do not enter your vehicle when fueling. If you need to re-enter the vehicle, discharge any static build up BEFORE reaching for the nozzle. 6. When fueling a portable gasoline container, fuel the container on the pavement at the station.

8 Frequently Asked Questions After dispensing fuel I noticed the price posted on the top of the dispenser was lower then the LED price. What should I do? After dispensing fuel I noticed the price posted on the top of the dispenser was lower then the LED price. What should I do? The customer is entitled to the lowest posted price displayed on the dispenser during the transaction. You should notify the attendant so they can correct the posted signs. The station should adjust the amount you owe for the fuel purchase. If the station does or does not honor the lesser amount, you should contact your local weights & measures office to report the issue. If a gasoline pump and a diesel pump are in close proximity to one another and I inadvertently put diesel in my gasoline tank, am I responsible? If a gasoline pump and a diesel pump are in close proximity to one another and I inadvertently put diesel in my gasoline tank, am I responsible? You are responsible for the mishap. It is not wise for the station to put them in such proximity, but if the pumps are labeled properly then you are responsible.

9 Frequently Asked Questions Am I paying for the packaging when I buy products at the deli counter? Am I paying for the packaging when I buy products at the deli counter? You should not be charged for the packaging when buying an item from the deli. Selling a product on gross weight, container and product, is illegal. The weight of the package or “tare,” is not included in the net weight. Do weights & measures officials inspect pharmacy scales? Do weights & measures officials inspect pharmacy scales? Yes. Like any other weighing or measuring device, pharmacy scales are inspected annually. How often are scales, gasoline meters and other devices inspected? How often are scales, gasoline meters and other devices inspected? In Massachusetts, these devices are inspected annually.

10 Frequently Asked Questions What should I do if I suspect the product does not contain the listed weight on the label? What should I do if I suspect the product does not contain the listed weight on the label? Report the problem to the store. Notify the local weights & measures office with all information possible. The inspectors will follow up with a net weight inspection. If the product is in violation of being short weight, the store can be fined for selling the product short weight. I recently read that the frozen glaze on seafood such as frozen shrimp should not be included in the labeled weights of the package. Is this true? I recently read that the frozen glaze on seafood such as frozen shrimp should not be included in the labeled weights of the package. Is this true? Yes. Even though the coating of ice on the shrimp is common and legal, the coating cannot be included in the labeled weight on the package. There are also guidelines as to how thick the coat of ice can be on the frozen product. The regulation is in place to ensure the customer is not paying for ice on the product.

11 Frequently Asked Questions Do prepackaged products need to be labeled? Do prepackaged products need to be labeled? Yes. All prepackaged products such as meats and deli foods need to be labeled. What should I look for on the label when purchasing these types of products? What should I look for on the label when purchasing these types of products? By law the label on the product such as the ones listed above, need to meet certain criteria. The total price of the product needs to be listed, the net weight of the product needs to be listed and the price per pound is required on the label.

12 Frequently Asked Questions Should I be able to see the customer visual display on the scale and or cash register? Should I be able to see the customer visual display on the scale and or cash register? The scale should be placed in an area that is easily viewed by the customer. The scale should display the weight, total price and price per pound. On a similar note, the cash register display should be placed so the customer can see the price of the products scanned or entered and the total price of the sale. What should I do if I am overcharged? What should I do if I am overcharged? If you do notice a discrepancy, ask the clerk to check the price again. If the clerk does not or cannot change the price, notify the manager the prices do not agree. If the problem is not resolved, contact the local weights & measures office. Save any receipts, advertisements or discount notices you may have as this will help the inspector resolve the problem.

13 Frequently Asked Questions What should I do if I was shorted fire wood in my order? What should I do if I was shorted fire wood in my order? A sales invoice must be issued and needs certain information listed on the invoice. The name and address of the purchaser and seller should be listed along with the date of delivery. The quantity in terms of cubic feet and the price of the quantity delivered also needs to be listed. Note the license plate number of the delivery truck. After you verify the receipt, stack the wood in the same direction and as close as possible, then measure the stack. The stack should measure 128 cubic feet if you purchase what is commonly know as a “cord”.* If it does not measure up to that standard, call the wood company and inform them that the delivery was short. If that avenue fails, inform your local weights & measures department about the possible discrepancy. The inspector will come to your residence/place of business to measure the stack. Take pictures of the stack and retain for your records. Do not use any wood until the stack is verified and documented by weights & measures. * Legally in Massachusetts 128 cubic feet of firewood cannot be advertised as a cord of wood.

14 Frequently Asked Questions What should I look for on a home heating oil delivery ticket? What should I look for on a home heating oil delivery ticket? The first thing you need to do is check the delivery ticket for the required information. The ticket should be serially numbered for identification. The date, names of the purchaser and seller shall appear on the ticket prior to delivery of fuel. The statement of quantity in terms of gallons, the price per gallon, the grade of fuel, as well as the identity of the person making the delivery shall appear on the ticket. How often are oil trucks inspected? How often are oil trucks inspected? Oil trucks are inspected on an annual basis.

15 Frequently Asked Questions How will I know if a commercial device, such as a scale or a gasoline meter, has been inspected and is approved for use by a weights & measures official? How will I know if a commercial device, such as a scale or a gasoline meter, has been inspected and is approved for use by a weights & measures official? Once a scale has been inspected and found to be correct, the inspector will apply a vinyl inspection sticker to the side or face of the device. In Massachusetts, the colors of the stickers are green and red. The green stickers are applied in even number years and red stickers are applied odd number years. The month in which the device was inspected will also be noted on the sticker. Who inspects taxi meters in the town? Who inspects taxi meters in the town? The Town of Barnstable Weights & Measures Department inspects taxi meters twice a year. The meters are checked in April and October.

16 Frequently Asked Questions Would weights & measures conduct inspections on products that are sold on a count or piece basis? Would weights & measures conduct inspections on products that are sold on a count or piece basis? Weights & measures inspectors do perform inspections on products that are based on count such as building material and fruits & vegetables. What should I do if I suspect that the mulch I paid for does not equal the amount delivered? What should I do if I suspect that the mulch I paid for does not equal the amount delivered? If you suspect that your mulch order is short, you should first contact the company to see if they will fix a possible error. If the company does not feel they are responsible for the assumed shortage, your next course of action would be to contact weights & measures to file a complaint. After this, contact the company again and explain to them that you have contacted weights & measures to pursue further action. Ask them again if they would like to make good on the delivery. If that fails, contact weights & measures again to proceed with an investigation. As with any other complaint, contact the business first as they may rectify the situation.

17 Frequently Asked Questions Are there any other devices that weights & measures officials inspect during the year? Are there any other devices that weights & measures officials inspect during the year? Weights & measures officials do inspect other devices throughout the year. Reverse vending machines which count bottles and cans, other counting machines such as coin counting machines can be inspected as well as timed devices. Who checks the standards used by the local weights & measures department? Who checks the standards used by the local weights & measures department? The standards used by the local inspectors are certified by the standards at the State Metrology Laboratory in Needham. Those standards at the state lab are verified by the Office of Weights & Measures at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST, in Gaithersburg, MD. NIST is a division of the United States Department of Commerce. The standards guidelines NIST follows are established by the International Organization of Legal Metrology, or OIML, located in Paris, France.

18 Frequently Asked Questions Any Questions? Any Questions? Thoughts? Thoughts? Comments? Comments? Thank you for your time! Thank you for your time!


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