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Attorney Renee C. Walsh

Scanner Law – Do you need to present your driver license?

A Shopping Reform and Modernization Act “Scanner Law” claim was presented at a Meijer (in the 8 Mile area).  When the claimant requested his bonus, Meijer representatives told him that he needed to provide his driver license.  Thinking that Meijer was not complying with the law by requiring a driver license as a precedent to payment, the claimant contacted the Attorney General’s office and inquired as to whether a driver license was required in order for Meijer to be in compliance.  The AG’s office told the gentleman that since the law does not explicitly prohibit the demand of a driver license, then this requirement may be considered reasonable.  He was further told that under the circumstances, the AG’s office would not be interested in pursuing a case against Meijer, so it would be up to him to sue for the bonus to see how the judge would rule if he wanted to know with more certainty.

This advice provided over the telephone by the AG’s office runs counter to that which they provide via the office’s website at:

AG Scanner Law Q&A.  Here, the AG’s office discusses the Scanner Law in the context of the Scanner Law Bill of Rights and Questions and Answers and specifically advises as to:

“Question 9.  Can the seller, as a condition of paying the difference between the price I was charged and the price displayed for the item, or as a condition of payment of the bonus, demand I provide my name, address, and phone number?” 

Answer:  “Probably not.  The Scanner Law only requires the buyer to provide evidence of the loss suffered.  When the buyer produces the receipt, the seller will likely immediately mark the receipt to indicate [sic] the difference and the bonus have been paid.  The seller, however, has two days after notification to tender the difference and any applicable bonus.  If the seller does not process the refund and applicable additional bonus immediately and you do not want to provide contact information, you will need to make arrangements to check back with the seller at a reasonable time and location.”

Well, which is it Attorney General?  Can they or can’t they?    Would the answer be the same if the consumer were only demanding the difference and not the bounty?  What if the consumer merely requested the difference between the price and the overcharge?  Would it be “reasonable” for a retailer to request a driver license for the consumer to get the difference?  If the retailer does not request a driver license to pay the difference on an overcharge, is it reasonable for them to demand it as to the bonus? Does it matter if the consumer has a driver license or merely a state identification?  Can the consumer have a student identification card?  What about a bank card with a photograph on it?  What if the consumer is homeless?  What if the consumer is a minor?

Such questions reveal that the retailer cannot be permitted to make such arbitrary demands.  A retailer which does so, should be sued in order to protect the consumer.  The Attorney General has a duty to take on such a case.  Regardless of what the AG’s office does, certainly, the consumer should move forward with confidence.

I stand firm that the consumer does not need to present any identification and if forced to go to court, the consumer would likely win an argument that the law does not require anything but evidence of the loss suffered.  Furthermore, I would advise the appeal of any decision by a judge which holds that any type of identification is to be presented before the retailer must pay the difference and/or bonus, as such a decision would protect the retailer, contrary to the intent of the Michigan Legislature to protect the consumer.  If Meijer or any retailer demands a driver license before paying, inform them that you will return within the expiration of the two day period to provide a final opportunity to comply with the law, and furthermore, that you will have recording software running in order to provide proof in a court of law.

Discussion:

  1. The last complaint I had was against Menards. They instituted a new policy where if you bought a bunch of goods and if any merchandise credit or rebate slip was used on the purchase you always get another merchandise credit when you return something. Example: I buy $100 (or $1000 or whatever) worth of goods and if you use a merchandise credit for any amount, I’ll use $1.00, then return an item for say $10, you always get a store credit back before any cash even if the other $99 was paid in cash. I for the life of me can’t see how that’s legal. You spent $90 more in cash than what you’re returning but you still get a pesky credit. It makes for an accounting nightmare at tax time to have a bunch of receipts with credits on them. You should be able to just use them and be done.

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