333-054-0050 - Vendor Violation Notifications and Sanctions

333-054-0050. Vendor Violation Notifications and Sanctions

(1) The Authority must notify a vendor in writing when an investigation reveals an initial incidence of a violation for which a pattern of incidences must be established in order to impose a sanction, before another such incidence is documented, unless the Authority determines, in its discretion, on a case-by-case basis, that notifying the vendor would compromise an investigation.

(2) Prior to imposing a sanction for a pattern of violative incidences, the Authority must either provide such notice to the vendor, or document in the vendor file the reason(s) for determining that such a notice would compromise an investigation.

(3) If notification is provided, the Authority may continue its investigation after the notice of violation is received by the vendor, or presumed to be received by the vendor consistent with the Authority's procedures for providing such notice.

(4) All incidences of a violation occurring during the first compliance buy visit must constitute only one incidence of that violation for the purpose of establishing a pattern of incidences.

(5) A single violative incidence may only be used to establish the violations as written in OAR 333-054-0050(3) and 333-054-0050(4).

(6) Vendors shall receive a written "Notice of Non-compliance" for a single instance of:

(a) Failing to comply with the vendor's current vendor agreement;

(b) Failing to provide the authorized shopper a balance inquiry of remaining available benefits;

(c) Failing to provide the authorized shopper with a receipt for foods purchased with a food instrument;

(d) Failing to ensure that within 60 days of a name change the outside sign bears the same name as that listed on the vendor agreement;

(e) Influencing an authorized shopper's selection of authorized foods;

(f) Failing to display prices;

(g) Requesting or requiring any identification or information from the authorized shopper other than the WIC Program identification card;

(h) Failing to respond to a request issued by the Authority;

(i) Failing to accept or attend training when required by the Authority;

(j) Using the "WIC" acronym or logos without prior authorization by the Authority;

(k) Failing to maintain or provide, to the Authority upon request, invoices or receipts to show source(s) of formula purchase;

(l) Retaining WIC identification or any information that identifies a shopper as a WIC participant or disclosing information regarding a client of the WIC Program to any person other than the Authority, its representatives or a federal official;

(m) Failing to comply with the terms in a final order issued by the Authority;

(n) Failing to comply with an investigation by federal or state officials;

(o) Refusing the Authority or a federal official access to food instruments negotiated on the day of review;

(p) Failing to provide, within two business days of the Authority's request, purchasing/receiving records to substantiate the volume and prices charged to the Authority;

(q) Failing to stock appropriate quantities of authorized foods and infant formula;

(r) Violating the nondiscrimination clause listed in the vendor agreement;

(s) Failing to maintain or provide, to the Authority upon request, documentation for each incentive item;

(t) Failing to have at least one register that accepts WIC open during all of the vendor's operating hours;

(u) Failing to display signs at registers to indicate where WIC is accepted, if the vendor doesn't accept WIC in all lanes; or

(v) Stocking expired foods on the shelf in three or more food categories that are on the minimum stock requirements.

(w) Failure to maintain minimum lane coverage.

(7) The Authority shall issue the following civil penalties to vendors for program violations committed within a single contract period:

(a) The Authority shall issue a civil penalty of $100 to vendors for the first instance of seeking restitution from an authorized shopper or participant for a WIC transaction not reimbursed or partially reimbursed by the Authority, or for which the Authority has requested payment from the vendor.

(b) The Authority shall issue a civil penalty of $100 to vendors for second instances of the following violations:

(A) Failing to display prices for WIC-authorized items;

(B) Failing to stock appropriate quantities of authorized foods and infant formula;

(C) Requesting or requiring any identification or information from the authorized shopper other than the WIC Program identification card;

(D) Requiring a cash purchase in addition to the WIC transaction;

(E) Requiring authorized shoppers to pay for authorized foods during a WIC transaction other than with a food instrument. It is permissible for a vendor to request payment over the dollar amount listed on a CVB if the cost of the authorized purchase exceeds the CVB amount.

(F) Using the "WIC" acronym or logos without prior authorization by the Authority;

(G) Failing to accept or attend training when required by the Authority;

(H) Failing to maintain or provide, to the Authority upon request, documentation for each incentive item;

(I) Failing to have at least one register that accepts WIC open during all of the vendor's operating hours;

(J) Failing to display signs at registers to indicate where WIC is accepted, if the vendor doesn't accept WIC in all lanes;

(K) Failing to provide the authorized shopper a balance inquiry of remaining available benefits;

(L) Failing to provide the authorized shopper with a receipt for foods purchased with a food instrument;

(M) Stocking expired foods on the shelf in three or more food categories that are on the minimum stock requirements; or

(N) Failure to maintain minimum lane coverage.

(c) The Authority shall issue a civil penalty of $200 to vendors for a second instance of seeking restitution from an authorized shopper or participant for a WIC transaction not reimbursed or partially reimbursed by the Authority, or for which the Authority has requested payment from the vendor.

(d) The Authority shall issue a civil penalty of $200 to vendors for third instances of the following violations:

(A) Failing to display prices for WIC-authorized items;

(B) Using the "WIC" acronym or logos without prior authorization by the Authority;

(C) Requesting or requiring any identification or information from the authorized shopper other than the WIC Program identification card;

(D) Requiring a cash purchase in addition to the WIC transaction;

(E) Requiring authorized shoppers to pay for authorized foods during a WIC transaction other than with a food instrument. It is permissible for a vendor to request payment over the dollar amount listed on a CVB if the cost of the authorized purchase exceeds the CVB amount.

(F) Failing to have at least one register that accepts WIC open during all of the vendor's operating hours;

(G) Failing to display signs at registers to indicate where WIC is accepted, if the vendor doesn't accept WIC in all lanes;

(H) Failing to provide the authorized shopper a balance inquiry of remaining available benefits;

(I) Failing to provide the authorized shopper with a receipt for foods purchased with a food instrument; or

(J) Failure to maintain minimum lane coverage.

(e) The Authority shall issue a civil penalty of $400 to vendors for the fourth offense of the following violations:

(A) Failing to display prices for WIC-authorized items;

(B) Failing to provide the authorized shopper with a receipt for foods purchased with a food instrument;

(C) Failing to have at least one register that accepts WIC open during all of the vendor's operating hours; or

(D) Failing to display signs at registers to indicate where WIC is accepted, if the vendor doesn't accept WIC in all lanes.

(f) The Authority shall issue a civil penalty of $800 to vendors for the fifth offense of the following violations:

(A) Failing to display prices for WIC-authorized items;

(B) Failing to provide the authorized shopper a balance inquiry of remaining available benefits;

(C) Failing to provide the authorized shopper with a receipt for foods purchased with a food instrument;

(D) Failing to have at least one register that accepts WIC open during all of the vendor's operating hours;

(E) Failing to display signs at registers to indicate where WIC is accepted, if the vendor doesn't accept WIC in all lanes; or

(F) Failure to maintain minimum lane coverage.

(g) The Authority shall issue a civil penalty of $1600 to vendors for the sixth offense of the following violations:

(A) Failing to display prices for WIC-authorized items;

(B) Failing to provide the authorized shopper a balance inquiry of remaining available benefits;

(C) Failing to provide the authorized shopper with a receipt for foods purchased with a food instrument;

(D) Failing to have at least one register that accepts WIC open during all of the vendor's operating hours;

(E) Failing to display signs at registers to indicate where WIC is accepted, if the vendor doesn't accept WIC in all lanes; or

(F) Failure to maintain minimum lane coverage.

(8) Sanctions:

(a) For the following violations, the Authority shall disqualify a vendor for one year:

(A) Failing to accept or attend training for a third instance when required by the Authority during the three year contract period.

(B) A pattern of providing unauthorized food items in exchange for food instruments, including charging for authorized food provided in excess of those listed on the food instrument;

(C) A pattern of failing to stock appropriate quantities of authorized foods and infant formula;

(D) A pattern of providing change when redeeming a food instrument;

(E) A pattern of allowing a refund or any other item of value in exchange for authorized foods or providing exchanges for authorized food items obtained with food instruments, except for exchanges of an identical authorized food item when the original authorized food item is defective, spoiled, or has exceeded its "sell by," "best if used by," or other date limiting the sale or use of the food item. An identical authorized food item means the exact brand and size as the original authorized food item obtained and returned by the authorized shopper;

(F) Providing WIC shoppers with incentive items or other merchandise or services not approved by the Authority;

(G) A pattern of failing to maintain or provide, to the Authority upon request, documentation for each incentive item;

(H) Failure to pay a civil penalty assessed by the Authority within the designated timeframe set forth in the notice of civil penalty;

(I) A pattern of failing to comply with the vendor's current vendor agreement; or

(J) A pattern of stocking expired foods on the shelf in three or more food categories that are on the minimum stock requirements.

(b) For the following violations, the Authority shall disqualify the vendor for three years:

(A) One incident of the sale of alcohol, an alcoholic beverage, or a tobacco product in exchange for a food instrument;

(B) Failing an Authority inventory audit;

(C) A pattern of claiming reimbursement for the sale of an amount of a specific authorized food item, which exceeds the store's documented inventory of that authorized food item for a specific period of time;

(D) A pattern of vendor overcharges;

(E) A pattern of receiving, transacting or redeeming food instruments outside of authorized channels or locations. This includes, but is not limited to use of an unauthorized vendor, use of an unauthorized person, or redemption of food instruments outside of an authorized store location;

(F) A pattern of seeking restitution from an authorized shopper or participant for a WIC transaction not reimbursed or partially reimbursed by the Authority, or for which the Authority has requested payment from the vendor;

(G) A pattern of charging for foods not received by the authorized shopper; or

(H) A pattern of providing credit or non-food items in exchange for food instruments, other than those items listed in OAR 333-054-0050(3) and 333-054-0050(4).

(c) For the following violations, the Authority shall disqualify the vendor for six years:

(A) One incident of buying or selling a food instrument for cash (trafficking); or

(B) One incident of selling a firearm, ammunition, explosive, or controlled substance, as defined in 21 U.S.C. § 802, in exchange for a food instrument.

(d) The Authority shall permanently disqualify a vendor convicted of trafficking in food instruments or selling firearms, ammunition, explosives, or controlled substances as defined in 21 U.S.C. § 802 in exchange for a food instrument.

(HD 7-1993, f. & cert. ef. 6-11-93; OHD 17-2001, f. 8-2-01, cert. ef. 8-15-01; OHD 22-2002, f. & cert. ef. 12-24-02; PH 19-2003(Temp), f. & cert. ef. 11-14-03 thru 5-12-04; PH 22-2003, f. 12-31-03, cert. ef. 1-5-04; PH 7-2005(Temp), f. & cert. ef. 5-2-05 thru 10-28-05; PH 16-2005, f. & cert. ef. 10-28-05; PH 30-2006, f. & cert. ef. 12-27-06; PH 5-2009, f. & cert. ef. 6-1-09; PH 9-2011, f. & cert. ef. 9-30-11; PH 11-2013, f. 11-6-13, cert. ef. 12-1-13; PH 25-2015, f. 12-8-15, cert. ef. 1-1-16; PH 251-2018, amend filed 09/04/2018, effective 10/1/2018)

Publications: Publications referenced are available from the agency.

Statutory/Other Authority: ORS 413.500

Statutes/Other Implemented: ORS 413.500

The following state regulations pages link to this page.