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 made purchase for a advertised Honeywell air cleaner but I was charged $189.99 when it was advertised with a shelf tag for $179.99. I showed them my receipt and the scanner error but at that time they gave me a refund for the difference. I requested the 10x bounty they did give the Max $5 in the form of a store merchandise card. I didn’t know the fine print of the law so I left the store to Google the fine print. Nowhere on the net does it specify the $1-$5 have to be in the form of U.S. currency [cash]. Please assist me!

    • Dear Honor:

      I have had the same experience you are describing at Menards. They have a policy of giving the scanner statutory award in store credit. I believe this is illegal as it was not the intention of the legislature to allow for the retailer violating the law to use the award to their benefit requiring the consumer to be in servitude to them. To my knowledge it has not been litigated yet and it would be up to the consumer to take it to court. I think that a settlement could be achieved before a trial because the store does not want to have an unfavorable verdict as they would have to change their entire policy.

  2. How do I contact you? Walmart refuses to offer the bounty. I’m in Michigan and have all info.

  3. I went to a Michigan Home Depot to price flooring and decided on some flooring displayed as on sale for $1.99 per square foot. The sign clearly stated the item would ship to the store within 8 days. Any items in store were clearly labeled; the rest said they would ship within 8 days. They gave me a quote at that price and I decided to place an order. When they ordered the flooring it rang up at $2.99 per square foot. When I asked about the price difference they looked into it and told me the $1.99 price was only for any stock in the store and anything ordered from the warehouse was $2.99 despite the sign saying nothing about it being available in store and that it would ship within 8 days. I asked to speak to a manager who said the sign was rather new and that it was misleading/wrong and should be fixed. He said he couldn’t give me the $1.99 price without approval from his boss. Before leaving I took pictures of the display and the sale price shown. Two days later they called and said they could only give me the flooring at $500 off when the total savings would have been over $1500. I told them I wanted to talk to an attorney before I decided. I have not purchased anything yet. What should I do?

    • Dear Britton:

      This is not a ‘Scanner Law’ case because you did not purchase the item; rather, a Consumer Protection Act (“CPA”) case. The CPA provides for actual damages or $250, whichever is greater, plus reasonable attorneys fees.

      Consideration can be given to purchasing the item and then having an attorney write a letter requesting the difference and attorneys fees. As long as no release/settlement agreement is signed, this plan seems like it would be a good outcome.

      • Thank you very much for the quick reply and valuable information. At this point it is approaching a week now that I have been waiting to see if Home Depot will honor their displayed price on this flooring or not. As a result of this delay, 1. The other flooring that I was considering purchasing has gone from on sale for $1.80 per square foot back to the non-sale price of $2.38 per square foot (a total price difference of almost $900) and 2. I will almost certainly be unable to move out of my current residence by the end of the month resulting in me needing to pay rent there for an additional month. My question is would these be legitimate claims for damages as a result of their refusing to honor their displayed price? Thank you again for your help with this issue.

  4. I just left Family Dollar where I purchased Miracle Whip. It was marked $3.60. But scanned for $3.75. While walking out the door I noticed the mistake. After telling the manager he checked the shelf and went to the register and gave me 15 cents. I told him that I was due 10× this amount also according to Michigan law. He then told me the law ended years ago. I have my receipt and pictures of the price on the shelf. Whats my next step?

    • Dear Ralph:

      If they don’t pay within 48 hours, you have a case against them. The next step would be to attempt to enforce your rights to $250 by letting them know that they can pay you statutory damages, or you can contact an attorney to advocate on your behalf.

      • Thanks LawRefs. I told the manager, Saul, this exact information while attempting to leave my info so they could send the money… and all he kept saying was “they took that out” referring to the scanner law. Sadly enough, I feel like I’m obligated to the community to press forward. I even told Saul that what he was saying wasn’t true and he must stop telling people this.. and he replied, “They took that law out.” Sheeesh.

        • Sounds like you laid a perfect foundation for your claim. Unfortunately, the stores often find it cheaper to just pay claims rather than to implement a legal policy.

  5. Went to store today and bought two SD memory cards for my deer cameras, two packages. The first one I pulled off the rack said $17.99, so I pulled another one that was behind it and never looked at that price – both identical. The lady at the cash register said one was a different price and called the boss over. The one I saw said $17.99 the other one read $21.99 and the highest one was right! I said why’s that? I saw the $17.99 one and thought that was what they were, and they rang them up at $21.99 a piece on my credit card. The boss said someone made a mistake in that department and there’s nothing I could do to change it. I told her I should be compensated for their mistake and she said we don’t do that stuff here and that was that. Is there anything I can do? They really got me mad by ignoring my concerns.

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