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Old 11-22-2011, 10:42 AM
Howard Hartman Howard Hartman is offline
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Default Airport Baggage Scales – Are they Accurate this Busy Holiday Travel Season?

Airport Baggage Scales
Are they Accurate this Busy Holiday Travel Season?

Maryland’s Office of Weights and Measures Inspections
Ensure Consumer Protection BWI Airport Scales: Majority
found accurate or weighing in the customers’ favor

ANNAPOLIS, MD (November 22, 2011) – Are you being overcharged? Is your travel bag actually overweight? Did you know that the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) staff inspects the accuracy of airport baggage scales and other weighing and measuring devices to ensure proper calibration?

“As we enter the busy holiday travel season, we want travelers to know that MDA staff work to assure that consumers and businesses have a level playing field in the marketplace,” said Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance. “People should be aware that there are regulations we are trying to maintain and protect that ensure fairness in commercial transactions involving anything sold by weight, measure or count.”

MDA inspections last week at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) showed that 100 percent of international and 91 percent of domestic airport baggage scales were accurate. The six percent found to be in violation of weight accuracy were all in favor of the consumer. The remaining three percent had minor violations not related to weight accuracy.

“If you think the airport scale is not accurate, you can request your bag be weighed on a different scale,” said Weights and Measures Chief Ken Ramsburg. “If it still appears to be overweight, be prepared to take out some things and repack your items.”

Consumers can also file a complaint. MDA’s Weights and Measures office in Annapolis can be reached by calling 410-841-5790, or 1-800-492-5590. For more information about Maryland Weights and Measures, visit

Maryland currently has 16 Weights and Measure inspectors who are responsible for the accuracy of 60,759 weighing and measuring devices in commercial use at 9,217 separate businesses locations. MDA inspectors are specially trained and certified to test and inspect these devices, according to established protocols, to make sure they are within the required tolerances. Devices failing inspection may be taken out of service until corrected by the owner. Inspectors also visit stores to verify that packaged products contain the quantities specified, and that consumers are being charged the correct prices at checkout.

During FY 2011, MDA field staff inspected 37,525 devices and tested 9,256 individual lots of prepackaged commodities. Price verification inspections were conducted at 138 non-food stores. Thirty seven firms received civil penalties for misrepresenting unit price violations. In FY 2011, Weights and Measures imposed $83,500 in civil penalties for all violations.

During FY 2011, MDA also investigated 562 consumer complaints. Most were related to gasoline sales. Consumer complaints are given priority over routine inspections and require a significant amount of staff hours to investigate.
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