The Bureau of Weights and Measures

Protecting Purchases

The primary objective of the Bureau of Weights & Measures is to assure the accuracy and honesty of all commercial weighing and measuring devices in the City of Cleveland.

The City of Cleveland Bureau of Weights & Measures is a consumer protection agency which protects the buyer as well as the seller. Consumers should expect accurate weights and measurements in purchases. Anyone having doubts on any weighing and measuring matter should contact the Bureau at 216.664.3388.

The Bureau assures equity in the marketplace to protect Cleveland consumers and vendors by annually testing and sealing commercial weighing and measuring devices. If accurate, a seal of approval is placed on the equipment. This includes the following devices:

Gas Pumps

Many factors draw a motorist to a gas station, and price is definitely near the top of the list. Drivers can make sure they are charged the correct amount based on the posted price, by noting the following:

  • The posted price on the street sign must be the same as the posted price on the gas pump for the grade and type of service selected (full serve, self serve, cash/credit).
  • Before fueling, dollar and gallon amounts on the pump should be set to zero. The receipt should match the amount indicated on the pump, and motorists should take receipts with them.
  • Multiplying the gallons purchased by the price per gallon will insure that the dispenser is correctly computing the price. This can be done at the station with the gallons indicated on the pump, or with the gallons indicated on the receipt, even at home afterwards.
  • The vehicle tank capacity in a car's owner’s manual is only an estimate, and gas tanks may hold more than the stated capacity to allow for expansion of the fuel in hot weather.

Service station owners are required to keep dispensers in good working order; however, equipment sometimes fails and mistakes do happen. Patrons who have problems with Cleveland gas stations involving incorrect pricing, short measure, or incorrect octane posting, are advised to call the Bureau of Weights & Measures at 216.664.3388.

Deli Scales

Shoppers can verify that a scale has been tested if it has a City of Cleveland Bureau of Weights and Measures approval seal on the weighing device. The net weight and total price indications should be set at zero before the product is weighed, and the correct price per pound should be entered into the scale. Inspectors check scales for accuracy according to weight.

In over the counter sales, the scales and their quantity value indicators must be in plain view of the consumer. Consumers in doubt about any transaction should question the merchant because there may be an error that the merchant could quickly rectify if brought to his/her attention.

UPC Scanner Systems

Almost every product bears the Universal Product Code (UPC). This symbol, a series of numbers and vertical bars of varying thicknesses, is shorthand for product information. When a cashier passes the UPC symbol over an electronic scanner, a computer decodes the symbol and sends data to the register. The price then appears in the display screen and on the printed receipt.

The price charged for the commodity must be the same as an advertised price. Inspectors randomly check items to ensure pricing accuracy in retail establishments.

Consumer Suggestions

To become informed, consumers can learn what is required of merchants. Shoppers can watch display screens to ensure accuracy. Anyone who believes they are being overcharged should discuss their concerns with a manager. It's also a good idea for consumers to take a sales flyer or newspaper ad to the check-out counter and to check receipts before walking away from a store.

Package Inspection

Commodities packaged in advance of sale are randomly checked for accuracy. The products must meet or exceed the labeled weight. State of Ohio packaging, labeling, and methods of sale regulations are applied for food and non-food items.

All packaged goods must be marked with a statement concerning net contents. Net weight does not include the weight of the bag, wrapper, or container in which a commodity may be weighed. The consumer should pay for the product only, not the packaging materials. Whether it’s salad from a deli or meat from a butcher, the buyer is only required to pay for the amount of the product inside.