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Weights & Measures
The Fiscal Officer is the Sealer of Weights and Measures for all of Cuyahoga County except for the City of Cleveland, thus protecting the general public from the possible loss which may occur from faulty measuring devices, such as scales and pumps. He is charged with the responsibility of insuring that all State laws relating to Weights and Measures are strictly enforced.
The Weights and Measures Department is responsible for checking a number of things for accuracy. Some of these include:
- Scanners used on bar codes to verify that the price marked on a product is the price that is charged.
- Gas pumps to make sure you are receiving the amount of gas indicated by the pump meter.
- Scales at grocery stores, meat counters, produce departments are checked for accuracy.
- Package checking and method of sale of consumer products to verify accuracy of labeled weight, volume, count and measure.
- Orchards and produce stand scales are checked seasonally.
- Scales at school's, doctors' offices, weight loss clinics and nursing homes are verified as a courtesy upon request.
- Truck scales at asphalt, cement, gravel and scrap metal yards are also checked.
- Meter verification of truck scales used for heating oil as well as liquefied petroleum gas.
- Products such as feeds and mulches for weight and accuracy.
If you are going into business or you are already in business and will be using a scale, you must contact our office for more information.
These services are performed to insure the consumer is getting the value advertised on the product. Periodic "spot checks" are performed on prepackaged items, testing the accuracy of the contents.
If you believe a gas pump or scale did not perform properly for the goods you received, please contact the Fiscal Officer's Office, Weights and Measures Department, at (216) 443-7035.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the National Conference on Weights and Measures?
The National Conference on Weights and Measures is a professional organization of State and local weights and measures officials. Its members include representatives of industry, government, and consumers. The Conference's ongoing mission is to promote the development of uniform, effective State and local weights and measures laws that help maintain a fair marketplace and protect both consumers and businesses. Your State and local officials are responsible for enforcing the weights and measures laws. They use highly-accurate equipment to make sure that weighing and measuring devices, such as gasoline pumps and scales, are in fact giving proper measurement. They work to ensure that every commercial transaction involving weight or measure is fair and accurate. Throughout the millions of transactions that take place every day, your weights and measures officials help guarantee that you get what you pay for.
Service station owners are required to keep their dispensers in good working order; however, equipment sometimes fails and mistakes do happen. If you have a problem involving incorrect pricing, short measure, or incorrect octane posting, call the Cuyahoga County Fiscal Officer's Weights and Measures Office at (216) 443 -7035.
What can I do at the gas pump to ensure that I am getting what I pay for?
Many factors draw motorists to a gas station, and price is near the top of the list. To be sure that you are being charged the correct amount based on the posted price, do the following:
- Keep in mind that your vehicle tank capacity in the owner's manual is only an estimate. It may hold more or less than the stated capacity.
- Check the prices posted on station signs that list the grade of gasoline and type of service you select (full, self, cash/credit). Make sure it is the same as the price per gallon on the dispenser face for the grade and type of fuel. Carefully note any qualifications or conditions required to obtain the discount for the cash/credit price.
- Make sure that the numbers on the face of the dispenser for SALE and GALLONS are set to ZERO before you begin pumping gas. If the previous sale still appears on the dispenser when you start pumping gas, you can become the victim of an "inflated" purchase.
- Multiply the indicated gallons delivered by the price per gallon to assure that the dispenser is correctly computing the price. (If you do not have time to do this at the station, get a receipt or write the numbers down and do the math at home.)
- If you make a credit card purchase, check to be sure you have been charged the correct amount and take your receipt with you.
- At full-service stations, observe attendants as they fill your tank or add liquids such as oil, transmission fluid, engine coolant to be sure they add the entire product. Ask the price of these products before the attendant opens the containers.
What can my local Weights and Measures office do to help?
Your local Weights and Measures office will give your questions and complaints high priority. To protect you, the consumer, they do the following:
- Inspect new gasoline dispensers after they are installed and then regularly test them.
- Pump gasoline into a State Certified test measure (a container capable of holding a known quantity) to check for accuracy of the product delivered.
- Make sure that price computations at the dispenser and the readouts inside the gas station are accurate and agree.
- Place an approval seal (sticker) on the dispenser if, at the time of the test, the delivered quantity and pricing are accurate and the dispenser meets all legal requirements.
- Many weights and measures offices also check fuel quality and octane rating but NOT in the State of Ohio.
- NEVER fill portable containers while they are inside a vehicle. Static electricity may ignite gasoline fumes. Filling an ungrounded container that is placed on the plastic bed liner of a pickup truck creates an extreme hazard.
What is an Octane rating and why is it important?
Octane number is a measure of gasoline's antiknock performance - its ability to resist knocking (a metallic pinging sound) as it burns in a vehicle's engine. When you compare gasoline prices among stations, be careful to compare prices for the same octane. Using high octane gasoline in an engine that is designed for a lower octane is usually not recommended unless your engine knocks. Check your vehicle owner's manual to see which octane the manufacturer recommends.
What are "Oxygenated" and "Reformulated" gasolines?
Oxygenated gasoline is conventional gasoline to which chemicals that are rich in oxygen have been added. This increases the octane and/or meets clean air regulations to help reduce carbon monoxide exhaust emissions. Oxygenated gasoline is required during winter months in those metropolitan areas that do not meet the Federal air quality standard for carbon monoxide. The most common oxygenates used are methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) and ethanol (alcohol). Oxygenated gasoline performs as well as conventional gasoline in most vehicles.
Reformulated gasoline (RFG) is gasoline blended to reduce potentially harmful emissions from vehicles. The Federal Government issues regulations that specify characteristics of the gasoline. If you have questions about the use of oxygenated gasoline or reformulated gasoline (RFG), in your vehicle, consult the owner's manual.
What is a cord?
Firewood is sold by a measurement called a "cord." A cord must equal 128 cubic feet. To be sure you have a cord, stack the wood neatly by placing the wood in a line or a row, with individual pieces touching and parallel to each other, making sure that the wood is compact and has as few gaps as possible. Then measure the stack. If the width times the height times the length equals 128 cubic feet, you have a cord of firewood.
What measurements can wood be sold by?
A cord, like other measurements such as a foot, a gallon, or a ton, is defined by law. A seller may not legitimately use terms such as "truckload," "face cord," "rack," "rick," or "pile" because these terms have no legally defined meaning and, therefore, you have no way of determining how much firewood you are actually receiving. If a seller uses such terms it should alert you to a possible problem. Wood can only be sold by the cord or by fractions of a cord.
How can I protect myself when buying wood?
When you buy firewood make sure to get a receipt which shows the seller's name and address; as well as the price, amount, and kind of wood purchased. If possible, get the seller's phone number and write down the license plate number of the delivery vehicle. When the wood is delivered, ask the seller to stack it (you may have to pay extra for this service) or stack the wood yourself. Measure the wood before using any. If the cubic measurement indicates that you did not receive the correct volume, contact the seller before you burn any wood.
What can I do if I think I've been short-changed?
If the seller can't or won't correct the problem, contact your weights and measures office before you burn any wood. It is also helpful to document the possible shortage by taking a picture of the stacked wood. Your local weights and measures office is the County Fiscal Officer's Office, (216) 443-7035.
Who can I contact with a problem or question?
Cuyahoga County Fiscal Officer
County Administration Building
Cleveland, OH 44113
Weights & Measures
How often do inspectors check scanners, test scales, and check gas pumps?
Every measuring device is checked, tested, and sealed for accuracy once a year. These devices are also spot checked throughout the year.
What happens with a consumer complaint?
A state certified inspector is dispatched within 24 hours to start the investigation process.
What types of complaints are common?
Common complaints are:
- Inaccurate meter reading at the the gas pump
- Department store advertised specials not being honored at the check out counter
- Incorrect labeling or pricing of products at the grocery store
- Inability to have a clear view of the scanner or register screen