Checkout counter scanners at the eight Osco Drug stores in Boston registered the wrong prices 76 percent of the time, usually to the buyer's disadvantage, during a check by city inspectors.
Osco is a subsidiary of Salt Lake-based American Stores.The scanners registered incorrect prices on 292 of 381 products bought at the stores, said John Eade, chief of the city's Inspec-tional Services Department.
Of the 292 errors, 200 were overcharges and 92 were under-charges.
One 75-cent item at one store - a 5-ounce package of Libby's Vienna Sausage - was scanned at $7.54, an overcharge of $6.74.
At five of the eight stores, no item bought by inspectors was priced correctly.
At three of those five stores, there were more undercharges than overcharges.
Eade said the findings are being referred to the city's special prosecutor for legal action. Officials said they plan to seek refunds for customers and fines of as much as $30,000.
Eade said Osco officials were told of the findings last week and indicated they had known of problems for some time.
Eade said a follow-up inspection at two stores Tuesday found no incorrect prices.
Dianne Maffia, spokeswoman for American Stores Co. of Salt Lake City, the corporate parent of Osco stores, said the company found that prices had been entered into the system improperly.
She said the problem was only in Boston and had been corrected.