LawRefs Customized Legal Information
Attorney Renee C. Walsh

SCANNER LAW UPDATE

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.

IMPORTANT!  TAKE A PHOTOGRAPH OF THE DISPLAYED ADVERTISING.

What must the seller do?

PAY YOU WITHIN 2 DAYS!

The OVERCHARGE amount AND

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

Discussion:

  1. I purchased Hot Pockets at Walmart advertised for $4.50 and was charged $5.00. I received the $.50 back and they did not offer the bounty and had an employee go change the sign while I was getting a refund. Do I have a case?

    • Dear Shawn E.:

      You do have a case because all the law requires you to do is to notify the store of the overcharge. At that point, they have 48 hours to give you the overcharge amount plus the bonus.

  2. I have a question in reference to out dated sale signs. I recently purchased an item at a Kroger that rang up for $1.99 but there was a sale sign on it that was labeled $1.39. I brought it to their customer service desk and the associate informed me that I would not receive a bounty because the sale tag was an expired sale sign and does not apply to the bounty law because it falls under the advertising law and not the scanner law. Is this statement true? I would think this falls under deceptive practices.

    • Dear David:

      I have seen this before. The issue could be a “Scanner Law” (“SRMA”) issue or another advertising issue that falls under the Consumer Protect Act (“CPA”).

      First let me say that at a minimum, Kroger should sell it to you for the lower price. If they didn’t, then you probably have a CPA case, and could get $250 in statutory damages (+ all reasonable attorney fees [not capped at $300]). The CPA claim(s) could be refusal to sell at the price advertised and/or deceptive advertising.

      Second, you could have a SRMA case depending on what the displayed advertising looks like – depends on how a reasonable consumer would interpret the language/images, etc.

  3. Does the law apply to gas stations? I was just overcharged (item was scanned, not keyed in) and they refused to give me the bounty, only the difference. The owner stated that the law only applies to big box retailers and became very rude, argumentative and allowed an employee to verbally abuse me. Then they threatened to have the police remove me if I didn’t leave.

    • Dear Nicole R.:

      Yes. The law applies to gas stations, but not to gas itself. Telling you a lie about your rights is arguably a separate violation of law and you could get an additional $250 for that!

  4. What if a product is labeled $4.99 but it’s misplaced on the shelf like someone dumped it in a location that wasn’t where it was suppose to be?

    • Dear Rich:

      If the label is not for the product purchased then the Scanner Law does not apply. There are a lot of times that items are misplaced and when scanned, they scan for the price displayed in the location where the item is supposed to be. This is not a Scanner Law violation, but rather a “mistake” and an appropriate defense for the retailer under the Consumer Protection Act.

  5. Melissa T. says:

    I bought a pack of 15-12oz cans of keystone light at $5.79 and was charged $6.79 at Meijer. They told me that alcohol did not apply to the Michigan State law and refused to give me my $1.00 back or the scanning award and gave me a $5.00 gift card and told me that was all they could do.

    • Dear Melissa T.:

      I do not see alcohol in the list of exceptions provided for in MCL 445.317. But, as you received a $5.00 gift card, I wouldn’t recommend pursuing any claim.

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