Enforcement Action and Civil Penalties
Authority to Inspect
The Weights and Measures Services Division (WMSD) is provided the authority to conduct inspections of commercial, non-profit, and government locations under Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) Title 3, Chapter 19. Inspections are initiated by WMSD to evaluate and ensure a location's compliance with applicable statutes, as well as rules provided in the Arizona Administrative Code (A.A.C.) Title 3, Chapter 7. Inspections are generally unannounced to the regulated party and the to public, as unannounced inspections often provide the best representation of a location's day-to-day business practices. Before an inspection begins, WMSD staff are required to present agency photo-identification, state the purpose of the inspection, and review the Regulatory Bill of Rights with a location representative. Inspection results must be available to the inspected location within 30 days of the inspection date. In most cases, inspection results may be e-mailed to the location at the e-mail address on file with WMSD. Inspection results are also posted for public view in our online inspection database.
Presumptive Evidence of Use
A.R.S. § 3-3474 states the following:
"When a weight, measure, meter, counter or commercial device is in or about any place in which or from which buying or selling is commonly carried on, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the weight, measure, meter, counter or commercial device is regularly used for the business purpose of the place."
This statute means that WMSD is permitted to presume that any weighing or measuring device found at a business is used for commercial purposes and is therefore required to comply with WMSD regulations. It is important for locations to ensure that any weighing and/or measuring device being used in a commercial manner is properly licensed with WMSD, and meets all applicable requirements as outlined in A.R.S. and A.A.C.
The Weights and Measures Services Division (WMSD) is provided the authority to issue enforcement action in response to violations of A.R.S. Title 3, Chapter 19, and A.A.C. Title 3, Chapter 7, that are documented during an official inspection. These enforcement powers are found in A.R.S. § 3-3415 and include the authority to:
- Issue stop-use, hold, and removal orders with respect to any commercial weighing and measuring devices found to be in violation of our statute and/or rule
- Issue stop-sale, hold, and removal orders with respect to any commodity or motor fuel kept, offered, or exposed for sale found to be in violation of our statute and/or rule
- Issue stop-use and hold orders with respect to any gasoline vapor recovery system found to be in violation of our statute and/or rule
- Seize for use as evidence, without a formal warrant, any incorrect or unapproved commercial weighing and measuring device, test standard, or commodity found to be in violation of our statute and/or rule
In addition to the enforcement powers listed above, our agency is also authorized under A.R.S. § 3-3475 to issue civil penalties.
Civil penalties may be issued for violations relating to commercial devices, Registered Service Agencies, Registered Service Representatives, Public Weighmasters, motor fuel quality, gasoline vapor recovery, retail price posting, retail price accuracy, or other non-compliance issues that are identified during an inspection. Specific civil penalty requirements and maximum penalties are outlined in A.R.S. and A.A.C. When violations are identified by field staff, they are documented in the WMSD database using a three-digit violation code (a.k.a. "fail code"). The violation code serves as a unique identifier for the type of violation, and allows our agency to track the compliance rate in regards to different inspection types. Inspection results are reviewed by WMSD office staff, and a Notice of Violation will be issued for any violation that constitutes a civil penalty. Civil penalties are generally issued for the following violations:
- Any violation that is detremential to the consumer
- Fuel quality violations
- Air quality violations (Cleaner Burning Gasoline and gasoline vapor recovery)
In certain instances, there may be violations identified that fall outside of our traditional civil penalty policy, or where the lack of compliance appears to be negligent. In these cases, WMSD has the statutory authority to issue an increased civil penalty amount.
"What do I do if I receive a Notice of Violation?"
Civil penalties are due within 30 days of being issued and may be paid using a credit card online, or by a check sent through the mail. You may also pay civil penalties and other fees in-person at the Agriculture Building in Phoenix. The Notice of Violation provides the recipient information about their right to appeal any civil penalty issued by WMSD. Requests for an appeal must be submitted to WMSD within the time frame specified on the Notice of Violation. Requests for an appeal will not be considered outside of this time frame.
"How much is a civil penalty?"
A table listing the civil penalty amounts per violation is provided in the link below. In most cases, the amounts listed are the maximum allowable penalty, however, per A.R.S. § 3-3475(C) WMSD may double the maximum civil penalty in certain situations. Please note that most civil penalties are issued per violation. As an example, if a location is found to be operating two devices that weigh or measure with error in favor of the device owner/operator, a civil penalty will be issued for each device in violation. Also note that the enforcement actions described under the "Enforcement Powers" section of this page may be implemented with or without the issuance of a civil penalty.