LawRefs Customized Legal Information
Attorney Renee C. Walsh

Scanner Law

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.

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  1. 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.