NYC launches 'Secret Shoppers' initiative

The News Leader

July 27, 2011 11:00:48 AM PDT
New York City has launched a new outreach initiative to educate shoppers about their rights at the supermarket and deputize them to act as "secret shoppers" to report if they experience overcharges at the supermarket. New Yorkers can tweet their stories to @NYCDCA using the hashtag #nickeled&dimed and post to Department of Consumer Affairs's Facebook page.

The initiative is part of the Departmen's two-year intensive crackdown on extensive illegal pricing practices at City supermarkets.

"New York consumers will make great 'secret shoppers' to tip us off to their own firsthand accounts about what's happening at supermarket checkout counters," said Commissioner Jonathan Mintz. "We'll also be sharing important consumer tips with our followers and fans."

The messages received as part of #nickeled&dimed will be treated as enforcement tips, so they should include the name of the supermarket, address or cross streets, and an explanation of the overcharges.

The Department of Consumer Affairs says shoppers should also be on the look-out for a lack of prices on individual items, items incorrectly rung up at the register, advertised prices that don't scan correctly at the register, a store's failure to post the unit price on the shelf, and a failure to provide scales for weighing items sold by weight.

For a complete guide to smart shopping, download DCA's guide Saving at the Supermarket. To file an official overcharge complaint, call 311 or visit