Inaccurate price scanning

What does the law say about a store posting one price on the shelf and coming up with a higher price when the item is scanned? Are they required to give a discount, or give you the item free? Otherwise, what’s the store’s motivation to be sure prices scan accurately? It seems unfair that you should have to watch the register like a hawk to prevent your being cheated.

Someone recently had a thread on this, but I don’t remember where.
The basic answer is, it depends where you live. Mis-scanned prices in my state result in the consumer getting 5X the difference with a maximum of $5. This makes for a pretty good insentive to keep your scanners accurate.

If the store refuses to pay, the consumer can go to small claims court and get like $125. There was a case where a place mis-scanned something by 5 cents, refused to pay the 25 cents, and wound up paying $125.


I have no idea what the US does.

This happened to me at a Kroger store. I’d purchased a pack of graph paper that had a shelf price of $0.99. The scanner came up with $1.19. The assistant manager checked (and removed!) the shelf tag and gave me the pack for nothing.

Well, the U.S. is a federal republic, so we don’t really have laws like that (aren’t “supposed to,” anyway).

States, on the other hand, would have their say. I think Lost4Life might be in Michigan, because it sounds familiar. I know we have the $5.00 limit, but, that is per item. And there’s a minimum there, too.

Heck, there may be local variations in each of the other states.

Meijer is notorious for this. Basically, it’s a plot to separate you from your money. If you don’t watch the register like a hawk, they’ll charge you an extra .20 here, and extra .15 there- it all adds up. I guess they figure Joe Consumer is either a) too lazy to watch the registers and see if the prices match, or b) too reluctant to risk “making a scene” a incur the ire of the people waiting in line behind him or her.

Even worse, they’ll advertise "12o.z. cans of NutSmack® only .39 each!" And then they'll stock the shelves with dozens upon dozens of **14o.z.** cans of NutSmack® at .69 each. When Joe Consumer shows up at the checkout line with his five cases of NutSmack® thinking he’s going get them for $.39 each, he’s in for a big surprise.

Just a bit west from you! I’ve seen more than a few people get mad because they point out the mistake to the cashier and expect a reward. It doesn’t apply if you haven’t paid for it yet.

The law stems from some surveys the Attorney General (now governor elect) did, finding a rather large percentage of items in stores like Kroger & Meijers (like 20%) mispriced. I found this description of the law

"if a consumer is charged more than the price marked on the item and a scanner was used, that consumer may demand the difference, plus 10 times the amount of the difference, up to a maximum of $5 or a minimum of $1. If the store refuses to pay, the consumer may sue for $250, plus attorney fees. If there is an overcharge for more than one of the same item, the consumer should receive the difference for each item but will receive the penalty on only one item. The store must be notified of the error within 30 days of the transaction and must provide payment to the consumer within two days of being notified of the error. "

I had the penalty amount incorrect.

I’m in Calif & they state the scanner price policy right at the counter with a sign. It usually says if the scanned price is HIGHER then you get the item for free (don’t know what happens if its lower). Doesn’t include liquor & cigs for some reason.

Funny, but this happened the other day at Albertsons sort of, an item scanned 50 cents higher than it should, but the clerk pointed out that the discount card then took off 50 cents. Sigh… I prefer stores that don’t require the cards.