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. TheProfessor says:

    What about if multiple DIFFERENT items scan incorrectly? For example, if you purchase several items at a grocery store that scan incorrectly, do you get a bounty on each? Not multiple purchases of the same item (only one bounty) but on completely different items. For example, if you bought a can of soup and a carton of milk and both scanned incorrectly, would you get a bounty on just the overall transaction or on each violation?

    • Dear Professor:

      The bonus applies to each non-identical item in the transaction. See MCL 445.319(a) and (b), where (b) anticipates a situation where there are two or more identical items and in that case only one bonus applies.

      Unfortunately, most retailers do not understand this and apply the law incorrectly, only giving one bonus per transaction.

  2. We had a scanning error today at Walmart in Woodhaven, MI and the customer service clerk refused to pay the $5.00; we only received the amount of the difference.

    • Dear Dion H.:

      That is a violation of the Michigan Shopping Reform and Modernization Act, aka Scanner Law. You may receive $250 in a court of law plus attorney fees of $300. In addition, depending on what was said to you about your rights, you may also have a Consumer Protection Act claim, and you may receive an additional $250 for that.

  3. Jo Ann A. says:

    Made a purchase of an item that had a sticker (for a mark-down) of $2.48. I was charged full price $4.99, this was a scanned item. I went back to the service desk and asked for the bounty law. They told me their machine will tell them if I can get it or not. She told me the cash register machine is stating NO bounty on the item. It was a shot glass with Green Bay Packer logo on it. She gave me the credit of the over charge and said no bounty…sorry!

    • Dear Jo Ann A.:

      The store owes you the bounty. Since they didn’t pay, you can now achieve $250 in statutory damages plus $300 in attorney fees. Also, depending on what was said, you may also achieve $250 in Consumer Protection Law statutory damages.

  4. What about percentages off: A top is $16 and is marked 50% off, so should ring at $8 but actually rang at $9. Would the award apply?