LawRefs Customized Legal Information
Attorney Renee C. Walsh


The Scanner Law Still Exists!

What’s the main difference in the new scanner law and the old scanner law?

  • How the price is advertised.  Sellers can now display the price in the store at the place where the item is located.  Individually marked items are no longer required.

The new law is called the Shopping Reform and Modernization Act.  (The old law was called the Pricing and Advertising of Consumer Items Act.)  Both of the laws are commonly referred to as the “SCANNER LAW”.

 What are the exceptions?

The scanner law does not apply to:

a) Items sold by weight or volume which are not in a package or container;
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 you more than the price displayed and you have a receipt, then you get the bonus.

Once you complete your transaction notify the seller of the overcharge and request your bonus.  You do not have to do this in writing.  You do have to do this within 30 days.  Remember who you talk to and what is said.


What must the seller do?



The BONUS = 10 x the difference (min $1.00, max $5.00)

If the seller doesn’t pay, recover actual damages or $250.00, whichever is greater, plus reasonable attorney fees up to $300.00.

Contact me! I’ll help you get your $250 (or actual damages) and they’ll pay my fee!

Key requirements to success at getting $250:

  • Price on display
  • You have receipt
  • You notify store within 30 days
  • Store does not pay bonus within 2 days
  • You have photograph of advertising/display
  • You gave them (or tried to give them) your contact information


  1. I had an issue where I was overcharged for lumber purchased. Took a photo of the price on the shelf and informed customer service. They said their policy is to only refund, no bonus paid. They state that is an old law, no longer applies. While shopping at another Home Depot they said the same thing. I even provided the info from They said policy is to not pay, it is an old law. They did refund the difference, but nothing more. Am I missing something obvious?

    • Dear Mike:

      The “Scanner Law” does not apply to items sold by weight or volume that are not in a package or container; so lumber is exempt. However as to the reason provided, many retailers believe that because the Michigan Item Pricing Act was repealed years ago, there is no “Scanner Law”; but the legislature approved another law that jumped it the old law’s place. The new law is called the Shopping Reform and Modernization Act. The biggest difference was that the retailer no longer has to put a price sticker on merchandise and can now display the price nearby. If the policy is to not pay because the law does not apply to the exempt item, then that is acceptable; however, if they believe they don’t have to pay because the law is no longer in effect, that is incorrect and unacceptable.

  2. I was told by a store that they do not give the bounty on clearance items. Is this true?

    • Dear Kathy S.:

      Many stores tell customers that the bounty does not apply to clearance items; however, this is not a true statement of the law.

  3. Does the scanner law apply to bags of tobacco?

    • Dear Kim:

      The scanner law does not apply to “Items sold by weight or volume which are not in a package or container.”

      If the tobacco was already packaged, the scanner law would apply.

      • The tobacco was in a package – even had a price of $5.99. It rang up for $6.49. The manager stated that the law does not apply because the store is privately owned and it is subject to change, and they are not a grocery store. This was today at Wild Bill’s Tobacco.

        • Dear Kim:

          There is no exception for “privately owned” stores. The law hinges on the use of an automatic checkout system. Given that the store manager told you untruths about the law, this is arguably a separate violation of the Consumer Protection Act.