Frequently Asked Questions


Q: What do I do if I want to file a complaint?
A: The first thing to do is gather as much information as possible. We’ll need the address of the establishment and a statement of what happened there. Check your receipt. If it’s a device complaint, know the pump number, the grade of gas, or the checkstand number where the scale is located. If you have a scanner or quantity complaint, we need the brand and size, posted price and how much you paid. We’ll ask if the seller was responsive to your inquiry, and for any other information you think might be pertinent. Call our office with this information at (530) 527-4504. If you leave your address and phone number, we will inform you of the results of the investigation. We take complaints seriously and respond as soon as possible.

Q: The gas pump advanced before I pumped any gas. Was I cheated?
A: Fuel pumps have a pressure relief valve that allows a small amount of fuel to drain overnight or on hot days. When you turn it on, it jumps. A pump that advances but does not stop may have a leak and should be reported to us.

Q: I have an 18 gallon gas tank, but the pump says I put 18.5 gallons into my nearly empty tank. Is this possible?
A: Yes. The capacity of your gasoline tank stated in your owners manual is an estimate. The actual volume it holds can be higher or lower than the stated capacity, because of production changes, the filler pipe, and whether all the air in the tank was vented during fueling. Fuel meters can be inaccurate. We fail about 5% of those we inspect. If you feel you are being cheated, contact our office to file a complaint.

Q: What steps can I take to prevent being cheated at a gas station?
A: Verify that the advertised sign and the pump price are the same. Make sure the pump register starts at zero. Know the estimated capacity of your gasoline tank. Make sure a current Weights and Measures seal is visible on the pump. Stop pumping at 10 gallons and compare the price per gallon times 10; it should equal the charge on the totalizer. $1.599/gal X 10gal = $15.99

Q: What is a cord?
A: Firewood is sold by a measurement called a “cord”. A cord must equal 128 cubic feet. To be sure you have a cord, stack the wood neatly by placing the wood in a line or row, with individual pieces touching and parallel to each other, making sure that the stack is compact and has as few gaps as possible. Measure the stack. You have a cord of wood if the width, times the height, times the length, equals 128 cubic feet. Common measurements of a cord of wood are 8 feet by 4 feet by 4 feet and 16 feet by 2 feet by 4 feet. Note that if you take a great deal of time to stack the wood it may be slightly less than the amount invoiced because the wood seller loads the delivery truck quickly. If you are unsure, call our office and an inspector will measure your wood.

Q: If a firewood dealer assures me that the wood in the back of his truck is a full cord, how can I be sure?
A: You can’t. A seller may not legitimately use terms such as “truckload”, “face cord”, “rack”, or “pile”, because these terms have no legally defined meaning and, therefore, you have no way of determining how much firewood you are actually receiving. Wood sellers must provide you with a receipt stating their name, address, amount of wood delivered and the date. If a species is noted, all the wood must be the same species.

Q: What steps can I take to prevent being shorted on a weighing or measuring device?
A: Make sure the device is on a level surface and that you can see the display. The instrument must start at zero. There should not be anything touching the device. Watch the person doing the weighing or measuring to make sure that nothing extra is added. Verify that there is a current Weights and Measures seal on the device.

Q: How can I avoid being overcharged at the register?
A: The best way to avoid being overcharged is to make a list of all the items you are going to purchase, and write down the shelf prices. Compare the prices you wrote down to the prices you are charged.

Q: What should I do if I am overcharged?
A: If there is a discrepancy, notify the cashier. If the cashier does not change the price, talk to the manager. If the manager cannot or will not change the price for you, contact our department.

Q: The produce I recently purchased weighed less on the scales in the produce department than what I was charged for at the register. Am I being cheated?
A: Scales in produce departments are intended to be an estimation of the actual weight. These scales are provided as a convenience to customers and are not certified.

Q: Why did the recycling center reject some of my cans?
A: California Redemption Value (CRV) is paid only on certain containers that bear the CRV notice. Non-CRV containers are purchased at their scrap value, by weight. The recycling center may buy back by count (fewer than 50) or by weight, and may reject recyclable containers for dirt, moisture, and co-mingling with non-CRV material.

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