Michigan’s scanner law, effective September 1, 2011, is formally called the Shopping Reform and Modernization Act. The law retains many provisions of the former Pricing and Advertising of Consumer Items Act . The substantive change affecting consumers who watch for pricing errors is the requirement that retailers display the price in the store at the place where the item is located. Individually marked items are no longer required. The price may be displayed using a price sticker, sign, an electronic electronic reader, or any method that clearly conveys the price to a consumer where the item is located.
The law does not apply to:
b) items sold in a coin-operated vending machine;
c) prepared food intended for immediate consumption;
d) items purchased by mail or through a catalog, or which are not otherwise visible for inspection, if the price of the item is on the consumer’s written order or the bill/invoice;
e) unpackaged food items;
f) items which have a total weight of not more than 3 ounces, a total volume of not more than 3 cubic inches, and a total price of not more than 30 cents;
g) live plants;
h) live animals;
i) motor vehicles;
j) motor vehicle parts;
k) packages of 20 or fewer cigarettes;
l) greeting cards sold individually which have a readable coded price on the back of the card;
m) merchandise ordered by a consumer as a gift to be sent directly to the recipient.
If a scanner is used to charge the shopper more than, and the shopper pays more than the displayed price of a consumer item, and is given a receipt that describes the item and states the price charged, then the bounty or bonus has accrued.
Once the transaction has been completed, and the consumer has been overcharged, if the consumer wants to invoke their consumer right to the bounty, they must notify the seller of the overcharge. The consumer does not have to do this in writing, but if they do not, they should take copious notes about the in-person notification (in order to prove to the court that notification was given). The consumer does not have to exit the store either. It is mandatory, however, that the consumer pay for the item in the first place. Therefore, they should NOT notify the clerk of the error in advance.
The consumer has 30 days to notify the retailer of the overcharge / scanner law violation. Within two days of receiving that notice, the retailer may choose to refund the difference between the amount charged and the price displayed plus a bonus of ten times the difference, with a minimum of $1.00 and a maximum of $5.00. If the seller does not pay both the refund and the bonus, then they may sue to recover actual damages or $250.00, whichever is greater, plus reasonable attorney fees up to $300.00.
If the store does not pay upon notification, contact me! I’ll help you get your $250 (or actual damages) and they’ll pay my fee!
Note well: If shopping at Meijer at night, they will not pay the bonus there and then because they do it through their Customer Service desk which closes in the evening. Therefore, be prepared to provide a note with your name, address, and telephone number. This way, after the two days lapses, the burden remains on Meijer to send the bonus to you.
Key requirements to lawsuit success:
Item is a consumer item
Item scans for more than the price displayed
Payment is made at the overcharged price
Sale is recorded by automatic checkout system
Receipt is given that describes item and states the price charged
Item is not an exempt item
Notification of overcharge is made in writing or in person
Notification of overcharge is made within 30 days
Difference and bonus is not paid within two days of notification