Weights & Measures. . .
The mission of the Kings County Sealer of Weights and Measures is to assure that “equity prevails in the marketplace”. Our aim is to sustain the elimination of misrepresentation and fraudulent transactions in the marketplace. To accomplish this goal, your county Sealer of Weights and Measures enforces the laws of the Business and Professions Code of California and the regulations contained in the California Code of Regulations. Coordination of this effort is at the direction of the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Division of Measurement Standards. Kings County Weights and Measures officials inspect thousands of packaged goods and hundreds of commercially used devices to determine adherence to prescribed standards.
The influence of weights and measures on commerce has far-reaching effects upon the global, as well as local economies. In California the duty of weights and measures is functionally divided into five programs: Service Agents, Devices, Quantity Control, Weighmaster, and Petroleum. (photo gallery)
From time-to-time, devices that are used commercially may require adjustments and repairs. Should the owner of the device be incapable or choose not to make the repairs himself, he or she may select the services of a repairman. The law set forth in the Business and Professions Code requires persons in the business of repairing commercially used devices to be registered with the Division of Measurement Standards as a service agent (individual) or service agency (business). This enables the state and local weights and measures officials to monitor the activities of repairmen.
This program helps bring equity to the device repair industry, thus helping to protect the persons and companies in their performance of these services. Weights and measures officials inspect installations of new or remanufactured devices, in addition to those repaired, throughout the county to confirm the accuracy and adequacy of the service performed. This activity provides the consumer with reliable standards.
For weights and measures purposes, a device can be defined as any instrument or apparatus, and its accessories, that is used to determine any quantity of any commodity or thing by either weight, measure, or count.The intent of weights and measures laws is to place standards upon the use, design, and performance of devices that are used in the exchange of goods or services. Devices that are used in the exchange or trade of goods and services are classified as “commercial devices”.
Each year Kings County officials perform approximately 3,500 inspections and tests of devices in the county. Once these devices pass inspection and performance tests they are then certified for use. You may be able to tell that a device has been certified when you see a round paper sticker or “seal” affixed by Weights and Measures officials. Examples of some of these devices include: gasoline pumps, taxi meters, propane meters, natural gas and electric sub-meters, farm milk tanks, pharmacy scales, retail scales, fabric and cordage meters, vehicle and livestock scales, to name a few.
Simply put, the Quantity Control program makes sure you receive the “full measure” of what you purchase. Commodities that are packaged prior to their sale (prepackaged) have the basic labeling requirements of the identity of what is packaged, how much is contained, and who packaged it. Most of California’s package labeling requirements are in conformity with the federal Fair Packaging and Labeling Act. Additionally, the Business and Professions Code of California contains the legal manner by which some products must be sold, such as firewood, that must be sold by units of a volumetric measure called the “cord”, which equals 128 cubic feet.
County weights and measures officials inspect thousands of packages packed in the county. Stores in the county that prepackage their own commodities, such as meat departments in grocery stores, are checked on a regular frequency. Transactions are checked for accuracy by test purchases. Price scanners are inspected by utilizing a prescribed price verification procedure. Consumer complaints are investigated using either of these test procedures
Some transactions involve quantities or volumes that are beyond the scope of regular retail or wholesale packaging. For example, the dairy farmer who buys 200 tons of hay, the tomato grower who sells his tomato crop to a processor, or the trucker who needs to know the quantity of material he is transporting. Who determines the quantity and how are they established? If the buyer is not present during the determination, how will he be assured the quantity is accurately indicated?
Weighmasters are persons recognized by commerce in California to provide this information. Weighmasters are licensed by the Division of Measurement Standards to issue certificates that legally declare the weight, measure, or count of goods and products. The weight certificates issued by weighmasters are recognized by the courts as legal documentation of quantities exchanged between parties.
Petroleum advertising and labeling providing product identity and information to the seller, as well as the buyer, is strictly enforced by the Department. Examples include fuel price information and labeling of engine oil, brake fluid, and antifreeze.
It is fairly common knowledge that weights and measures inspectors test the accuracy of the pumps that deliver gasoline to your car. However, have you considered if you are getting the grade of gasoline you have selected to purchase? Most petroleum products have federally established minimum standards that must be met prior to their sale.
In Kings County, Weights and Measures officials assist the state in randomly sampling petroleum products for the purpose of determining their compliance with federal and state specifications. This action protects both the consumer and the seller. As an example, some stations selling gasoline utilize a “blender” pump to dispense mid-grade gasoline. If the blender mechanism is malfunctioning, the buyer may be getting more high grade fuel than mid-grade which costs the station; or if the buyer is getting more low grade fuel, it benefits the seller and gives a lower quality product to the buyer.
Test purchases are made by anonymous means to determine the accuracy of transactions and the quality of products being sold. Test purchases have proven to be an effective tool in the investigation of consumer complaints with some transactions.