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Consumer Protection- Weights and Measures
Weights and Measures
The Division of Weights and Measures regulates many aspects of commerce and trade throughout the state. The division ensures that equity prevails in the marketplace for both buyers and sellers by inspecting over 100,000 commercial weighing, measuring, metering and scanning devices. In addition, any commodity sold by weight, measure or count is subject to inspection to ensure consumers are getting what they pay for. Items inspected include food and dairy products, household products, gardening products, firewood and hundreds of other products purchased daily by consumers and businesses.
Exam Study Guides
- View Weights and Measure Fees
- Weighmaster Exam
- New Business/Device Registration
- Placed In Service Report Form
- Metrology Customer Survey
- Scale and Scanner Fee Worksheet
The first priority of the division is to investigate consumer complaints if someone feels that they have been overcharged or the quantity of a product that they have purchased is misrepresented in some way, or the motor fuel they have bought is contaminated by water or particulate matter. Consumers have often brought a problem to the attention of the division which has lead to the prosecution of companies for overcharging or inaccurate weighing or measuring practices.
Complaints can be reported to the Office of Agro-Consumer Services Division of Weights and Measures at 1 (800) 247-1086 during regular business hours.
Mass Flow Meters
The Weights & Measures division annually conducts inspections/certifications of “mass” flow meters that are designed to measure the mass, or mass and density of liquids used commercially (industry type applications).
The annual registration fee is $185.00 per meter.
Motor Fuel Inspection & Testing
The Motor Fuels Program regulates the sale and quality of motor fuels in Louisiana. This program is comprised of a centralized fuels testing laboratory whose primary function is to validate that all fuels sold in the state meet certain octane ratings, chemical and/or physical requirements established by Louisiana laws and regulations. Employees in the field perform statewide inspections to ensure that fuel dispensing devices are operating within established guidelines for volume dispensed, total price computation and dispenser labeling. In addition, they will randomly sample fuel for specialized testing to assure quality products are sold to the consumer. This program is also responsible for investigating consumer complaints involving the sale and/or quality of motor fuels in the state.
The Motor Fuel Program maintains and enforces minimum performance standards and specifications for most petroleum and related motor fuel products (gasoline, gasoline/oxygenate blends, diesel and biodiesel fuel) offered for sale or sold in Louisiana and for the devices used to dispense these products. Additionally, the program regulates the advertising and labeling of these products, but does not regulate the cost.
Weights and Measures officials inspect all motor fuel dispensers at least once a year to confirm they are operating within established tolerances. A typical inspection of a retail motor fuel establishment will begin with the inspectors making sure that all posted signs advertising the price are in agreement with the dispenser price. Louisiana law does not require that the price be posted on a street sign. However, if the station so chooses, the street sign price must be in agreement with the dispenser price.
After checking that the motor fuel dispensing device starts at zero, a calibration check is performed to ensure the correct volume is dispensed from the nozzle. The dispenser’s displayed total price is then checked against the store’s console for pricing accuracy. Louisiana law requires that the tolerance limits for accuracy be within +/- 6 cubic inches for each 5 gallon delivery and that the total purchase price be within $0.01 of the computed purchase price (cost = price per gallon X gallons dispensed). The device must also initiate at $0.00 and 0.00 gallons on the display and remain at this value until activated by the customer at the nozzle. Dispensers are also checked for proper octane labeling and for any signs of leakage or wear. Upon completion of the inspection, a lead seal is applied to the point of calibration to prevent tampering.
All fuel storage tanks are checked with an appropriate water detection paste to ensure that water levels are at or below the maximum allowable levels. Louisiana law states that at any given time the water level cannot exceed 2 inches in fuel storage tanks or a ¼ inch in ethanol blended fuel tanks. To ensure the quality of each grade of motor fuel, random samples are tested in the field for octane rating, foreign matter and water. These samples are then forwarded to the Motor Fuels Lab for further testing and analysis to ensure quality and conformance with Louisiana specifications. After verifying the dispenser and fuels dispensed meet all the above requirements, a current Louisiana Department of Agriculture & Forestry seal is placed on the dispenser.
Packaged commodities of every kind offered or exposed for sale or in the process of delivery are routinely inspected in retail and wholesale establishments throughout Louisiana by Weights & Measures inspectors in order to determine whether they contain the amounts represented and whether they are offered for sale in accordance with Weights & Measures Law.
At least once a year, and more often if deemed necessary, weights & measures inspectors inspect, test and try all weighing and measuring devices commercially used for suitability, accuracy and correctness. Included, but not limited to scales ranging in size from very precise jewelry scales to large railroad track scales capable of weighing up to 300,000 pounds.
|Scale Registration Fees|
|0 to 1000 Lbs.
1001 to 10,000 Lbs.
Over 10,000 Lbs.
What to expect during an inspection· The inspector may ask to see a current scale registration to compare the actual number of scales in use, compared to the number registered with the department.·The inspector needs to have ready access to all scales; therefore someone in the business should have knowledge of the location of each scale.·Known test weights, certified as accurate by the department’s metrology laboratory, are placed on the scale to make sure the device is accurate. Devices within tolerance are sealed.·Devices out of tolerance are given a reasonable number of working days to be repaired by a licensed scale company.·After the devices that are rejected are repaired, an inspector will perform a retest and affix a current approval seal.
Price Verification Inspection Information
Many Louisiana stores use electronic scanners to compute sales at the check-out counter, which is linked to a computer where product prices are stored. Scanners are either hand-held or on the counter and the clerk runs the scanner over the price tag. The scanner reads a code on the product and the computer displays the price.
Category # of Scanners (each location) Total Fee (Not per scanner)
A 1-10 $50.00
B 11-25 $100.00
C More than 25 $150.00
Louisiana consumers are to be charged the price that is advertised, posted, or displayed for an item offered for sale. Weights and Measures employees inspect scanners annually to verify that prices charged for scanned items reflect the advertised, posted, or displayed price for those items. When a scanned item produces a price that is either over or under the advertised, posted, or displayed price, it is considered an error.
Louisiana Law (LRS 3:4607) requires Weights and Measures inspectors to inspect and test all electronic barcode scanning devices to ensure that prices are posted for items offered for sale and the prices are accurate.
To help defray the cost of these inspections, Louisiana law and regulations allow the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry to charge an annual fee for registering these devices. The annual fee is listed below.
Each year a Weights and Measures inspector will conduct a price verification inspection to determine that at least a 98% accuracy rate is met. If the inspection results in an accuracy rate below 98%, additional inspections will be conducted. After two failing inspections, a formal warning letter may be issued. If the location remains out of compliance, the business may be brought before the Weights and Measures Commission and civil penalties may be imposed.
If you have any questions regarding these matters, please contact the Weights and Measures Division of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry at (225)925-3780.
Service Agency – Service Persons
Means any agency or person who for hire, award, commission or any other payment of any kind, installs, services, repairs, or reconditions any commercial weighing or measuring device must be registered with the Department:
Service Agency $100.00
Service Person $50.00
Taxi Meter Inspections
Weights & Measures Division conducts annual tests of all commercial taxi meters that automatically calculate rates and indicate a charge for hire, to determine compliance with distance and time tolerances. Taxis must have their meters tested and sealed annually.
Taxicab Registration Fee – Per Cab
- Category 1: $50.00 Per Meter
What to expect during an inspection:
- Drivers meet at a driving course and are asked for their license and registration.
- Inspectors first ensure that the initial drop for riding is correct.
- Next, the inspector verifies that the meter drops correctly. This is measured for approximately four minutes.
- Then the inspector rides with the taxi driver for two miles documenting that every approved fraction the meter is charging the correct monetary value.
- An inspection report is filled out along with a registration form if the meter passes inspection.
- A passing meter receives a seal of the current year assuring consumers that they are riding in an inspected/certified metered cab.
A license is required of individuals in charge of weighing commodities being bought from or sold to the public when a charge is made for such weighing or a certificate of weight is issued. Applicants must pass the required test of his knowledge of weighing equipment. Retail consumer outlets and individuals weighing pre-packed commodities are exempt.
Weighmaster License Fees
Weights and Measures Commission Hearings