Stores cannot misrepresent food quantity

Published 11:09 pm Saturday, December 27, 2008

Dear Lawyer Mark: I was trying to explain to my daughter the other day the concept of foods being sold by weight instead of volume.

I was showing her by shaking a potato chip bag so that sometimes it looks more full, and sometimes less, but that it still weighed the same. Well, she got a little carried away with it and began weighing some of the other things in our refrigerator.

She found something that surprised all of us: some of the food we bought didn’t weigh what it said on the package. It wasn’t a problem on the factory packaged things, but we did have a problem with some of the stuff packaged by local grocery stores.

Email newsletter signup

Would the stores be guilty of false advertising if they were lying about the weight? — WEIGHING LESS

Dear Less: In Ohio, there is a strict liability statute that says a store cannot misrepresent or mislabel the quantity of a product. As food is sold by weight, a label that contains the wrong weight would put the store in violation of the statue, and it doesn’t matter whether they intended to misrepresent the amount or not. A violation of RC section 1327.61 (B) can result in civil penalties, as well as criminal sanctions.

If you’re food is underweight, I recommend that you first check the accuracy of your own scales. Most scales, especially those sold to general consumers, aren’t entirely accurate.

If your scales are accurate and the label is not, I recommend you talk to the store manager, and if you are still not satisfied then file a complaint.

Dear Lawyer Mark: I have a question on selling property after somebody dies. My dad had put his property in both of our names a few years back, and he recently passed away. It was the only thing he had — I was letting him use all of my old furniture, and he didn’t have any savings or anything.

I have heard that going through the courts can be expensive and can take forever. Do I have to go through the court in order to sell the property? I have my own house, and just want to sell his off. I don’t have a lot of money and probably couldn’t afford to pay the lawyers, courts and everyone else. — INHERITED HOME

Dear Home: You may not have to go through the courts in order to transfer the property. If the deed from your father to the two of you was what is called a joint and survivor, you can have an affidavit of transfer filed. The affidavit is a sworn statement that you make in front of a notary public, and you need to attach a copy of your father’s death certificate.

Because there is very specific legal language that needs to be in the deed your father did, and also will need to be put into the affidavit, you should see a lawyer about it. If you can transfer the property this way, it should be relatively inexpensive.

Thought of the Week: Whatever crushes individuality is despotism, by whatever name it may be called. — John Stuart Mill