The “Scanner Law” is something all consumers should be aware of. My law practice is based in Michigan and therefore, I write about the Michigan Scanner Law. A very frugal friend of mine mentioned to me that he rarely makes a trip to a certain retail and grocery supercenter without the scanner incorrectly scanning one of his items. 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 taken through an automatic checkout system, and for which a receipt is given. 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.
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.
If you are not in Michigan, search your legislative website with keywords: pricing advertising consumer items, (or something to that effect). Or, write to me and I’ll see what I can find for you.
- For a further discussion of Michigan’s Scanner Law, and a list of exemptions, please read Michigan Scanner Law Update
- New York’s relevant law: NY State Weights and Measures, 1 NYCRR Part 345; NY State Weights and Measures, Article 17
- Contact Walsh Law PLLC to discuss the matter with Scanner Law attorney, Renee C. Walsh.