County of Marin - News Releases - Consumer Protection Report

For Immediate Release
March 13, 2018

County Shines Spotlight on Consumer Protection

New findings from Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures

San Rafael, CA – Over the past year, Marin County has seen an increase in trade and commerce violations, including cases of customers being overcharged – and even undercharged. Those were some of the findings in the new Marin County Consumer Protection Report, presented March 13 to the Marin County Board of Supervisors.

The 2017 report was created by the Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures, headed by Commissioner Stacy Carlsen. The weights and measures staff is only 2.7 full-time positions, but the staff spent 5,258 hours serving the public’s interest by ensuring accuracy and equity in the marketplace and protecting the health and welfare of Marin residents. Staff performed more than 9,100 inspections to ensure accuracy of measuring devices and checking the prices charged to consumers.

“You might not stop and notice it, but weights and measures touch nearly every aspect of our daily activities,” Carlsen said. “We think it’s vital that consumers and businesses are aware of how their tax dollars are spent to ensure they are getting what they pay for every transaction.”

Before doing inspections with new businesses, the department contacts them to make sure requirements and expectations are clear. “Fair and consistent enforcement is a high priority to the department,” Carlsen said. There is a great emphasis on education and information leading to compliance rather than enforcement or penalties used when needed to ensure equity in the marketplace and consumer protection.

The department staff issued 128 notices of violation in 2017, up from 113 notices in 2016. The most common violations were of equipment not being accurately maintained and customers not being able to see the price or weight of an object they were buying. There were 102 cases of customers being overcharged, up from 71 the previous year. Also, cases of customers being undercharged went from 63 in 2016 to 81 in 2017.

Want to watch out for yourself and others more closely? There are helpful consumer tips on the Ag, Weights & Measures website. Call the Consumer Help Line at 415-473-7888.


Stacy Carlsen
Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures

1682 Novato Blvd.
Suite 150-A
Novato, CA 94947
(415) 473-6700
Email: Stacy Carlsen
AWM website