Customers wait to pick up their purchases at the City of
Pewaukee American TV store during its going out of business
sale Feb. 20. State regulators caution purchasers to check
the prices of items after finding a higher than normal level
of incorrect prices ringing up at the cash registers at some
American TV stores.
Freeman file photo
MADISON - Nearly
all of American TV’s Wisconsin locations were caught charging
customers more than the ticketed price during an inspection
conducted by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and
The price of
5.5 percent of the 325 items checked was higher than the
four times the average of what we see statewide,” Division of
Trade and Consumer Protection Administrator Sandy Chalmers said.
The only store
where no overcharges were found was the City of Pewaukee
location at W229-N1400 Westwood Drive.
paid more than the ticketed price are entitled to a refund,
statement, American said most of the “checkout errors” the DATCP
found were where unboxed items were being sold for less than the
same items in boxes.
for selling Clearance and Demo center items has always included
a markdown at the register, and we feel confident that consumers
will pay the price as tagged,” the statement said.
announced earlier this month that it would be closing its 11
locations and terminating the jobs of nearly 1,000 people. The
company began a liquidation sale Feb. 20. Chalmers said her
department received complaints the next day about mismatched
prices and decided to send inspectors in to determine the scope
of the problem.
is that American might not be around for much longer,” she said,
adding that the difference in price for some items meant there
was “considerable potential for consumer harm.”
differences ranged from $.99 at a Madison store to $314.44 at an
that in a normal situation the company’s management would be
notified, her department would ask for a plan to correct the
problem and then monitor whether any additional issues came up.
“Here, we have
a situation where the company may not be in existence in two
weeks,” she said.
customers should be vigilant and make sure they are paying the
statement, American agreed that customers should be vigilant,
but took issue with media reports characterizing the DATCP
findings as deliberate overcharging.
from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer
Protection did not reach that conclusion, and American TV has
not received any consumer complaints,” the statement said.
alert issued by Chalmers’ department referenced overcharging six
times, although it did add that errors at one Madison store had
been corrected when inspectors returned on Tuesday.
inspectors identified themselves to store managers, surveyed a
cross-section of items and notified managers what they found.