September 3, 2014

City of Chicago Investigation Taregets Back to School Retailers

BACP issues 170 tickets during city-wide investigation; City offers advice for consumers

Mika Stambaugh, Director of Public Information     312.744.5365

September 3, 2014


City of Chicago students went back to school on September 2, 2014 and consumers should be on alert when buying back to school supplies. The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) investigators recently completed its Back to School Project to ensure parents are paying correct prices for school supplies and children’s school bags will be packed with safe supplies and food items.
The Back to School Project began in July and BACP investigators visited 117 businesses and at least one store in each of the City’s 50 wards. During the investigation, investigators purchased school items such as pens, notebooks, highlighters, wipes, zip-close bags, facial tissues, binders, calculators etc. and also looked for outdated merchandise. The probe found 65 businesses in compliance with the City of Chicago’s Retailer Rules and Regulations, and 52 were not in compliance. Violations included outdated merchandise, and promotional or price irregularities resulting in 170 tickets being issued, which carry fines between $2,000 and $5,000.

“Back to school is an important time for families.  Our goal is to protect consumers from becoming victims of fraud,” said Commissioner Maria Guerra.” With this investigation, we are making sure stores are honoring the prices listed on the shelves and not taking advantage of back to school shoppers.”

Before purchasing  school supplies, BACP would like to remind shoppers to check the store policy, read the fine print of sale advertisements, protect against overcharging, purchase from reputable sites when shopping online, keep all receipts, keep the packaging, check for a restocking fees, and return unwanted items promptly.

Consumer protection information can be found on the BACP website, and @ChicagoBACP and /ChiSmallBiz. To report a problem or file a consumer complaint with the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, call 311 or visit


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