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Attorney Renee C. Walsh

MAKE EASY MONEY Asserting Your Scanner Law Rights

A very frugal friend of mine told me that he rarely makes a trip to a certain retail and grocery super-center without the scanner incorrectly scanning one of his items.  He makes easy money asserting his Scanner Law rights.

Here’s the Scanner Law:

Michigan Compiled Law (MCL) 445.311 et. seq., popularly called the Scanner Law or Shopping Reform Act, applies to the purchase of consumer items which are purchased thru an automatic checkout system.  If the item does not scan correctly, the consumer gets the difference between the price displayed and the price charged, multiplied by 10. The minimum is $1.00 and the maximum is $5.00.

Once you tell the store that you have been overcharged, they have 2 days to give you these statutory damages.  If they do, you can’t take them to court.  If they don’t give you your statutory damages, you can and recover actual damages or $250.00 whichever is greater, and up to $300.00 in attorney fees.

Make even more $$ this way:

You should not feel awkward in any way about invoking your Scanner Law rights.  Stores are well aware of this law and should respect that you don’t want to pay more than you agreed to and you rely on them to advertise their goods in a way that will not cheat their customers.  Furthermore, it is an inconvenience to you to have to scrutinize your receipt and go back to deal with an incorrectly marked item.

But, they are going to treat you badly!  Store workers seem to take it personally.  They will even lie to you!

WATCH FOR THEIR LIES!

Take note of what they tell you and who tells it to you.  Listen for confusing and/or untrue statements, like “you have to leave the store” or the “law doesn’t exist anymore” or it “doesn’t apply to clearance items”.

Because those lies can lead to you collecting an additional $250!  FOR VIOLATING THE MICHIGAN CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT.

Contact me at renee@walshlawpllc.com if you need help collecting your statutory damages.  You won’t pay me a dime — but the store will.

Additional Resources:

Discussion:

  1. Margaret R. P. says:

    I’m in Texas and tried to search “Scanner Law in Texas”. Nothing came up besides this thread. Can you please tell me if this law pertains to Texas?

    • Dear Margaret R. P.

      I am not aware of a “scanner law” for Texas. Texas has the Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act, but it does not include a similar “scanner law” statute.

  2. Frustrated Shopper says:

    On 2-17-17, I purchased 4 pair of shoes on the KMart website at $14.99 per pair (regular price), to be delivered to a local Sears store for me to pick up. After I got home I inspected my purchases. All 4 pair of shoes had their KMart price tags attached with the little plastic loops and indicating the $14.99 price per pair. My receipt shows that KMart charged me $15.89 per pair (plus tax, but no shipping). KMart website today, 2-27-17, is still offering these shoes at the $14.99 price per pair. How can KMart do this? WHAT does KMart owe me? Thank you.

    • Dear Frustrated Shopper:

      All retailers must sell at the price advertised. Therefore, you are owed the overcharge amount for both pair. You may be entitled to damages under the “Scanner Law” if a scanner was used.

  3. Recently had this happen at a grocery store right across the line in Ohio (.5 miles from the Michigan line) on 2 grocery items: Bottle of ranch dressing and ice cream. At first the store didn’t even want to give me the difference even though they confirmed the tags on the shelves said the lower price. Can you tell me what Ohio’s law about it is? I tried searching but cannot find definitive information.

    • Dear Jay B.:

      ​​Ohio does not have a “scanner law” like Michigan. A person who is overcharged in Ohio has to look to Ohio’s Consumer Sales Practices Act. Under this law, the retailer has to sell the product at the price offered as that is what the consumer expects to pay upon accepting the offer to sell for that price.

      If the store will not sell the product to you at the advertised price, you may choose to pay the higher price and then sue the store to get back the overcharge amount. You may be entitled to $200 for each violation; in some cases you may be able to recover three times the price difference. A consumer should be prepared for a potential case by taking a photo of the advertisement and product to submit as proof of the price offered.

      As long as the amount of money involved is less than $3,000, you can file your case in your municipal or county small claims court.If you choose this option, you do not need an attorney. The Ohio Consumer Act, however, allows you to recover your attorney fees if you decide to hire an attorney to handle your case for you.

      • Thank you much for your help, it is a shame when you show them the correctly marked tag for a item and the store people still give you a hard time.

  4. The price on their box said $15.00, I was charged 19.89. They refused to pay the fine because they said it was a clearance item. Are clearance items excluded?

    • Dear Kristen E.:

      Clearance items are not excluded. In addition to a Shopping Reform and Modernization Act claim, your facts suggest that you also have a Consumer Protection Act claim.

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