In a trip to the store, you may fill your tank with gas, stuff your shopping cart with food, and pick up some items featured in the weekly ad. This one stop alone involves gas pumps, product scales and store registers – all of which are monitored for accuracy under state weights and measures laws. A fair marketplace in Wisconsin is not a coincidence, but rather the result of regular testing of these devices by state and local weights and measures inspectors.

So how do Wisconsin businesses fare in these tests? The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection’s (DATCP) inspection numbers are in for 2017, and Wisconsin consumers overwhelmingly received a fair deal for their money.

“Among other solid results, we are pleased to report that Wisconsin gas pumps delivered accurate amounts of product or even undercharged in nearly 100% of tested transactions last year, and that shoppers received the accurate price for their products at the register in almost 99% of tests,” said Judy Cardin, Director of the Bureau of Weights and Measures.

DATCP’s weights and measures team conducted 216,887 inspections at 5,630 business locations statewide in 2017. Results include:

Gas Pumps Grades of Fuel Tested Consumer Confidence* Total Accuracy**
  38,209 99.8%
(up .2% from 2016)
(up .4% from 2016)
Price Accuracy Items Tested    
  57,120 98.6%
(down .2% from 2016)
Retail Scales Scales Inspected    
  10,107 99.8%
(up .1% from 2016)
(down .3 from 2016)
Package Weight Packages Inspected    
  105,919 98.5%
(up .1% from 2016)
(up .1% from 2016)

* Percentage of time a consumer would be charged accurately or undercharged
** Includes all overcharges and undercharges

Inspectors also tested 5,221 fuel samples for quality last year. 98.0% of these samples met required standards.

When inspectors find inaccurate measurements in the field, violations are reported to store management and orders are issued to correct the problem. In 2017, DATCP inspectors:

  • Conducted 797 weights and measures re-inspections to ensure that accuracy corrections were made.
  • Rejected and required corrections on 1,915 scales and meters for inaccuracies.
  • Rejected 1,541 packages sold by weight for being short measure.
  • Ordered 808 prices corrected for ringing up inaccurately at the register.

Where inspectors find repeat violations, higher level enforcement is possible. In 2017, civil forfeiture settlements totaling $145,247.50 were collected from companies as a result of weights and measures inspections including fuel quality violations, product quantity misrepresentations, and weights and measures service company violations.

“DATCP’s weights and measures inspectors are out in the field almost every day testing gas pumps, package weights, price scanners, register scales, and fuel quality statewide to ensure that consumers are getting their money’s worth at Wisconsin businesses,” said Cardin. “This Weights and Measures Week, DATCP is proud to highlight the positive results from these tests and to publicly acknowledge how the hard work and dedication of our inspectors benefits all Wisconsin consumers.”

For additional information or to file a weights and measures complaint, visit, send an e-mail to or call 608-224-4942.

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