The Missing Law
Posted: 2006-08-09. Categories: Meijer, Michigan

I have a complaint about the Meijer in Lincoln Park, MI. I purchased some items on 8/7/06, once I got home, I found I had been overcharged on 3 items!

Each overcharge was about $1.00. I went back the next day and waited forever in line. Once up to the counter, I told the man that I needed my difference and the bounty. He refunded the difference on the items and handed me the money. I asked again about the bounty, he said I wasn’t entitled because the items were not marked. I told him that was not the law, he said it was.

I pulled out my printout of the law and asked if he would like to see it. He said he is told he can’t give the bounty, called a manager up to talk to me and mentioned that I had my own copy of the law. This manager, Kathie R. comes up, tells me the law states the item has to be priced. I argued with her, asked if she wanted to see the law, she refused to look at my copy and said she had her own copy. She couldn’t find it and called ANOTHER manager up to help me.

I told her I would make a complaint, she announced her name and told me to make sure “I spell it right”! A manager by the name of Debbie comes up some time later, she tells me the same line of bull, by this time I am fuming. I attempted to explain the law, they did not want to hear it or look at it. They said they would show me their copy, which I called their “edited version” and of course, they could not find their copy!

Debbie then comes over, says that “since they can’t find their copy, she would go ahead and give me the bounty this time, but the items must be marked.” I try again to explain to her and point it out on my copy, she glanced at it and told me that my copy was no longer valid, the law had changed about 2 months ago. My copy was printed in February 2006.

Do you know anything about a change to the law?

I was determined not to leave without the bounty, I had to waste my time and gas to go back to the store to get back my money that they were not entitled to have anyway! It was a nasty fight and took more than 30 minutes, but I was determined to make a point by that time.

Thank you,
Diane

32 Comments to "The Missing Law"

  1. Retail Bandit says:

    Dear Diane,

    I am not aware of any law changes. I checked the Michigan Legislative website today and could find no evidence that the law had changed.

    If anyone is aware of any changes in Michigan law, please let us know.

    Thank you for sharing your story and congratulations for standing your ground.

  2. Linda Jones says:

    Would someone Please explain the michigan bounty law to me

  3. Retail Bandit says:

    Dear Linda,

    The Michigan Scanner law requires that …a merchant to tender to the buyer an amount equal to the difference between the price stamped or affixed and the price charged, plus an amount equal to 10 times that difference but which is not less than $1.00 or more than $5.00, the buyer is barred from any further recovery for that loss.

    You can read the rest for yourself at the link posted in the original article, specifically, section 445.360a.

  4. Kristin says:

    I think the seller was right….

    2. If a price is not marked on a sale item and it scans for more than the sale price, do I get the sale price and the bonus?

    You are entitled to the sale price but not the bonus. There must be a price marked on the item – and the item has to scan for more than the price marked on it – for you to be entitled to the bonus.

    http://www.michigan.gov/ag/0,1607,7-164–134114–,00.html

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hi, my name is Ryan and I’m from Greenville, MI

    About a month ago me and my brother found out about this Michigan bounty thing from an elderly lady that told us we would receive a bounty for buying things that were overcharged and miss-marked. My brother and I went around and found several things miss-marked and bought them and went to the customer service desk.

    We bought three things of ice cream and some candy jolly rancher things. We paid about $14 for the whole thing and when we went to the counter, we received about $21 for our bounty.

    Well, every couple of days we’d go around and find a couple of things miss-marked and get a few dollars profit along with free food. Well, after a bit we bought about $30 in fishing supplies and they were all miss-marked by about a total of $6-7, which is outrageous to me. I went to the counter and they said they could only give me $5 cuz they were all fishing supplies.

    I corrected them in saying that each one had a different barcode, which meant each one gets a bounty. The guy then told us to wait, and we did, and after half an hour we asked him what we were waiting for. He said he had two days to get our money, so we waited another ten minutes and finally caved in.

    Well, I was pretty shocked at the whole thing so I didn’t shop there for a week and said I wasn’t going to do bounty anymore. Well, after a week or so went by I went back in and bought some energy drinks and some candy, and noticed that one of the drinks was over-charged by about $.66 so I went to the desk and they told me that they won’t do a bounty because I was buying stuff too often.

    I told them I never bought the item before and they refused saying that what I was doing was fraud and that if I had a problem to talk with the manager. Well, I asked for my money back and they were nice and gave it to me, but were they right in that what I was doing was fraud and punishable by law? I can see what I am doing isn’t the best, but what about the people who actually pay the full price for things and know nothing about it?

    Please reply and tell me what I should do, no matter how bad it may sound.

  6. Retail Bandit says:

    Hi Ryan,

    Oh, how I wish I had the time to spend, making stores pay for over-charging customers. While, what you are doing may be morally wrong, legally it’s not.

    Michigan has the law on the books to protect consumers. I would call the Attorney General’s office and file a complaint. If you have found that many things over-priced, something is seriously wrong with that store.

    They need to be investigated.

    The store should be using this as a learning experience and taking the necessary steps to fix the problem, not harassing a customer, who is as crazy as this may sound — doing them a favor.

    If everyone did what you were doing, either the store would fix the problem or go out of business. I’m not certain which one I prefer.

    I would call and complain to the stores corporate headquarters and start an investigation at the state level. This is a serious issue and apparently the store manager doesn’t care that good people are being ripped off by them.

    Good for you!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Diane,

    You are absolutely wrong. I consider myself a professional “bounty hunter”. I spend about 20 hours a week doing it. Therefore, I have come to know PA 449 backwards and forwards, to include how it applies in the courtroom.

    What you’ll need in order to win your case in court is what’s called “Prima Facie Evidence” of a violation. That is, your transaction needs 3 qualifiers: A paid receipt showing you being overcharged on the item, the item being stamped or affixed with a lower price and lastly, the sale is recorded by an automatic check-out system (scanner).

    There has been an attempt to add the displayed price to the law but so far it has been unsuccessful. Bottom line is, the item has to be priced in order to meet the guidelines of PA 449.

    Stay strong, Ryan from Greenville.

    When you get a refusal to pay at the customer service desk (that gangs up against you), take down times, dates, names and physical descriptions of everyone you deal with. Leave the store with your head held high knowing you will collect $250 for each item.

    Some small claims jurisdictions try to hold you to $250 per day so you may want to try and get the same treatment from them for about a week or so.

    Keep your bounty hunting focused on non-duplicated, low priced items (which reduces your overhead costs). You should always keep the items and receipts showing the price correction in their original condition until settlement or court date.

    Most importantly, get to know your store. It they’re refusing based on department then stick to that one department so you can get more refusals.

    By no means is this fraud. They are the ones breaking the law. Call the police department if you want to get paid on the spot. Cops coming-in a lot of times shakes up the desk enough to get them to pay on the spot. The local police authority HAS TO take a report and forward it the attorney general’s office.

    By all means, consult a trustworthy attorney (if there is such a thing) to be safe. Because if you get caught pealing or switching stickers, that’s a whole new ball game. Also remember, you can get your attorney paid up to $300 per violation. I usually keep it to around 4 days of violations though to stay in the settlement sweet spot.

    These stores make millions on these mistakes so I would not feel bad about being a “bounty hunter” one bit.

    Alls it takes is one lawsuit or a cart-full of items and you will make your local store change the way they present this merchandise to us.

    And believe me, I do understand how hard it is to stand at the CS desk with a team of clerks acting like you’re stealing it from them directly their pocket books and a line behind you ready to lynch you for taking up their time.

    But stay strong and remember; the law is on your side. They’re the ones stealing from us and the reason this law was enacted in the first place.

    Jim
    Mt Pleasant, MI

  8. Anonymous says:

    Jim,

    You really seem to know you stuff. I wanna go shopping with you.

    Have you or anyone else ever of any case law established on a lawsuit?

    Also, do you have to tell them they need to pay you the bounty or can they’re failure to pay because of ignorance still hold up as an unpaid bounty in small claims court?

    Patty — Traverse City, MI

  9. Anonymous says:

    WELL I JUST GOT OVER CHARGED AT MENARDS IN ESCANABA, MI. THEY SAID THEY DON’T HAVE TO PAY THE BOUNTY BECAUSE I DIDN’T LEAVE THE STORE.

    I DID PAY FOR IT IN THE CHECKOUT AND BEFORE I WALKED OUT I TOLD THEM AT CUSTOMER SERVICE I GOT OVER-CHARGED, AND THEY WERE THE ONES WHO TOLD ME THAT ALONG WITH THE MANAGER..SO I GRABBED THE STUFF WALKED 20 FT OUTSIDE AND CAME BACK IN…AND THEY SAID THAT DOESNT COUNT AS I ALREADY TOLD THEM ABOUT IT..WERE THEY RIGHT OR WAS I???

    DAVE JOHNSON

  10. Anonymous says:

    Dear Dave,

    They caught me on this technicality one-time. I made the mistake of telling the cashier about it BEFORE I had my receipt in hand.

    According to the law, you have to have a RECIEPT in hand. The law says nothing about leaving the store — and you have 30-day to claim your reward. So, print off a copy of the law and take it into the store with you. Don’t mention your last experience with them. 🙂

  11. Anonymous says:

    I am trying to find out where I can get a copy of the Michigan bounty law!!! Can anyone help me. Most problems seem to be at Meijer stores!

    Thanks

  12. Anonymous says:

    Dear Dave in Escanaba,

    I run into the problem you are speaking of almost every day. I have heard it all.

    You have to decide what you want out of it. Do you want them to pay you your five buck right then (assuming you have just one item wrong) or do you want to get a big fat gift card or small claims court award?

    Personally I love to hear that one “Sir, you have to leave the store to get the bounty”. Especially when I have only a few bounties to collect on. I walk out with a smirk and notes of names and receipts. I then bag it up, wait two days and call the store’s District Manager and tell them that I’ve learned that they are in violation of the Public Act 449 and that I could sue them for $550 but I am willing to save them $400 if they give a $150 gift card. They usually say “no” at first but then I like to read them verbatim MCL 445.360 and finally tell them that I’d take a $100 gift card but no less. That usually does the trick. If it’s a stand off then give them your name and number to get back to you after they look into it. But stick to a deadline and file it in court if you have to.

    Bottom line is: Menards is full of Menure.

    Also remember if you want to get paid on the spot you can call or threaten to call the local police who (MCL 445.359(4))has to take a report and forward it the Attorney General’s Office for investigation.

    But nothing beats some good ol paper work in your hand so here’s where to get a copy of the law:

    http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(j4dyhx55nqebo4rfspivmo55))/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectName=mcl-Act-449-of-1976

    Jim, Expert Bounty Hunter
    Mt Pleasant, MI

  13. Anonymous says:

    I have had trouble with my meijer in Kalamazoo MI, I would like to teach them a lesson. I have only occasionally tried using the bounty.

    My ? is how do you find these items that are priced incorrectly? I would like to get a number of items but it has only ever happened when I accidentally find an item.

    thanks

  14. Anonymous says:

    Wow you people who call yourselves “professional bounty hunters” are really pathetic. I work in a grocery store and believe me I get assholes like you everyday. Come on we have many items and yes people get OVERCHARGED.

    Come back get your difference and your bounty and get the hell out don’t stick around because we know who does this and who doesn’t, your not going to win…sheeshh get a job. How do you sleep at night?

    You’re not doing the store or anybody justice. Your stealing because the law is ridiculous anyway I hope the employees giving you a bounty know you have to walk out of the store to qualify…. Oh and if it’s human error than no you don’t get your bounty.

  15. Anonymous says:

    “I hope the employees giving you a bounty know you have to walk out of the store to qualify.”

    That is simply not true. The law says you must have a receipt in hand, it says absolutely nothing about having to first leave the store. Get your facts straight!

  16. Anonymous says:

    “Would someone Please explain the michigan bounty law to me.”

    There is plenty of information about the Michigan Scanner Law on this website. All you have to do is read.

  17. Angie, Stanwood, MI says:

    I live 20 miles from the nearest shopping center. Gas is astronomical not to mention that my time is valuable. In the past, I’d be so tired of shopping, that I wouldn’t bother to check my receipt (sometimes never) until I arrived home. That is no longer the case. Regardless of how harried, I try to pay attention during the check-out process (and correct before paying)…and then double-check before leaving the store. Many times there is still a scanner mistake or the clerk hits me twice for one item. It’s worth your time and money to pay attention.

  18. Jet says:

    http://www.michigan.gov/ag/0,1607,7-164-34739_17343_18163-134114–,00.html

    You can read some of the frequently asked questions with answers regarding the Michigan Scanner act. I have a small claims date at my local court against Walmart for being overcharged on a clearance item (that was stickered)on June 20th. After my purchase, I went to the service counter. I received the difference, but was told I was not eligible for the bounty by the clerk and a member from store management. I called the Michigan Consumer line and reread the act. Clearance items if properly stickered are included. I went back to the store on another day and left a letter addressed to the store manager with copies of my receipt and price stickers. I never heard back from the store. After four days, I filed a small claims suit.

    We will see what happens. I am so tired of the store’s misunderstanding of the Scanner act.

  19. Anonymous says:

    ironically im researching material on this topic…stumbled across this site and oh my… ppl really?? demanding a bounty?…if I went back and harrassed every employee each time they may have given back incorrect change or scanned the wrong price into the system I would never have a job because I would be to busy harrassing staff instead….. What ppl do not understand is that even the smallest retailer has 40 to 60 thousand products at any given time. So instead of rubbing errors in the faces of ppl that make dirt cheap wages how about you assist them in pointing out errors and not demanding a reward

  20. Anonymous says:

    “…So instead of rubbing errors in the faces of ppl that make dirt cheap wages how about you assist them in pointing out errors and not demanding a reward”

    Assist them in pointing out errors??? ARE YOU KIDDING ME??????
    WHAT A JOKE.
    Our local super walmart, you can buy one of the bags of hanes socks in the womans dept. marked $3.99. You will get charged $4.99 for them. Go get your difference and your bounty.
    (btw you will hear “you have to ASK for the bounty or we don’t have to give it to you” every time) Ok, so go back tomorrow, get the same socks… get the difference, get the bounty, do it all again tomorrow…
    I have 8 packages of socks now in the past few weeks, I only needed two, but now I have extras to donate to the local Salvation Army…
    WE HAVE told them about the mistake…. It’s been 8 times now!!! clearly they DO NOT WANT to correct it.

  21. Anonymous says:

    “…So instead of rubbing errors in the faces of ppl that make dirt cheap wages how about you assist them in pointing out errors and not demanding a reward.”

    I’d like to know what “make dirt cheap wages” has to do with “demanding a reward.”

    HELLO!!

    The reward doesn’t come out of YOUR pay. The two are not interconnected and I see NO reason what-so-ever that a clerk should get upset because someone kindly requests that you follow the LAW.

    Trying to avoid paying for ones mistakes in this world is unethical. I own my own business and if I make a mistake, I fix it for FREE, no matter how long it takes to make it right. Because it’s the right thing to do.

    These huge companies are used to making money off the backs of consumers — ill gotten gain — at that. We are talking about companies that consistently overcharge people. I’m sorry but what’s the difference between someone stealing my wallet and helping themselves to MY CASH and stores that overcharge unsuspecting customers? There is NO difference. Stealing is stealing!

  22. Anonymous says:

    <<2. If a price is not marked on a sale item and it scans for more than the sale price, do I get the sale price and the bonus?

    You are entitled to the sale price but not the bonus. There must be a price marked on the item – and the item has to scan for more than the price marked on it – for you to be entitled to the bonus.>>

    The above quote from Kristen was found at (http://www.michigan.gov/ag/0,1607,7-164–134114–,00.html)

    First of all, the Attorney General's Opinion is not law, it is his interpretation of the law and is not binding in a court of law. In fact, I have a letter from his office, which clearly states, "My primary responsiblity as the Attorney General is to act as legal councel for State of Michigan departments, agencies and employees."

    I called several years ago to try to get clarification on the law, when several legal beagles on this site pointed out the flaw in his opinion. Namely that the law allows the store a waiver in pricing 25 classes of items, the waiver. The waiver has been misinterpeted by stores to mean they don't have to pay if an item isn't marked, which I suspect is why we find so many unmarked items on the store shelves.

    It is my personal opinion that the Attorney General is wrong in his opinion and that according to his job description, as outlined by law, he has no right publishing that opinion.

    Take it for what it's worth. The only the way this will be settled is in a court of law and the only way to determine what the intent of the law was, is to go back to the original arguements made by the Michigan legislature, at the time the law was put into effect.

    Perhaps, someone has access to those records and would like to share them?

  23. Chris and Kari B. says:

    Does anyone here have any idea what the laws for incorrect scanning of retail items are in the state of Wisconsin? I just moved here from Michigan and was well aware of the Michigan Bounty Law. I have been having problems with the Wal-Mart stores in the Fox Valley area. I do know that the Wal-Mart stores in Michigan try to act as if there is no such thing as a “Michigan bounty law” because they have there own policy for instaces where you are charged incorrectly. I am just wondering if there is a law similar to this in Wisconsin and if not, what the law is in Wisconsin.

    Also we had a problem today at a Wal-Mart in the Appleton area where we were going to buy two items that were marked with a clearance price of $4.00 but were ringing up at $8.00. The original price as marked on the package was $10.00. The store refused to honor the marked price of $4.00 and said they could only honor the $8.00 dollar price. Now I don’t think that I am crazy, but, I am pretty darn sure that they were supposed to give it to us for the marked price of $4.00 regardless of how the item was ringing up in the computer. This instance angers me quite a bit, because this is not the first time that something like this has happened to me at Wal-Mart.

  24. Anonymous says:

    At Super Walmarts the Bounty does come out of our pay. We get less profit sharing according to the stores Bountys…more payout of bounty, less money in our pocket. We carry thousands and thousands of items and there are going to be mistakes with prices, these “professional” bounty hunters are really cheap asses who don’t want to work.

  25. Anonymous says:

    “At Super Walmarts the Bounty does come out of our pay. We get less profit sharing according to the stores Bountys…more payout of bounty, less money in our pocket. We carry thousands and thousands of items and there are going to be mistakes with prices, these “professional” bounty hunters are really cheap asses who don’t want to work.”

    Better a cheap ass than a lazy ass. Apparently, Wal-mart doesn’t care or they would fix the problem.

    As someone who is practically forced to shop at Wal-mart due to a lack of store choices in our area, combined with gas prices — I can tell you that Wal-mart employees are not the brightest workers on the planet.

    Perhaps Wal-mart should hire some decent help that is actually smart enough to do the job properly… Oh, can’t do that, it might cut into their profits. Then Sam Walton’s family would be forced to live like the rest of America.

    Boo hoo! I just wish every state had a bounty law. There would be more professional bounty hunters and then maybe Wal-mart would go out of business. What a blessing that would be for the entire world.

  26. Anonymous says:

    I understand that the employees hate paying out the bounty law, but without it, there is nothing holding the big corporations accountable. If I am being over charged $1 and they sell 50 of those items a day for a whole month, they are making out great. They don’t think twice about letting us pay more but they get their panties in a bunch when we hold them accountable? Sounds like a double standard. For those that do get docked out of their wages, take the time needed to do your job correctly. If I made multiple small errors it would cost me my license, a patients life and my job, not just a couple bucks. Tye Tye Ann Arbor, MI

  27. Anonymous says:

    I have a question. A local store carrys a brand of spray paint that will soon be “non-stock”. Meaning, the manufacturer is no longer making that color of spray paint. The store still carries that brand, just not the color. The store put on a bright orange “clearance” tag that reads $1.00. The normal price of the item is $4.00. Cashiers at registers of the store know to charge only $1.00 for the price of the spray paint as it is clearly noted on the bright orange tag. Automatic check out’s do not. If a customer goes to an automatic check out and scans his item, the item will read $4.00 as the barcode cannot be changed (all the other brands that are in stock have the same bar code). So, what happens in this case? The customer pays more than the tag says and demands his bounty.. Does he get it?

  28. Anonymous says:

    I work for a department store and know the law well. The Item must be priced and scan at another price other then witch it is priced. This law was setup to help the stores not hender them. In all stores around Michigan hours are cut on the employes, do to no buddy buying and to many people trying to get something for nothing. All you are doing when you abuse the law is hurt your self. Because the stores have to pay a fine for the bounty, witch makes prices go up. Next time you try to get a free ride, think of what is right.
    Dee

  29. Anonymous says:

    I went to Chowhound on Friday night and we got 2 bags of 44 lbs. Iams dogfood. A sale flyer showed the price as $31.99 per bag, and there was a bright orange price sticker on the bags, showing the sale price of $31.99.

    I just looked at my receipt this morning (Monday) and noticed that I got charged full price ($38.99) for each of the bags. I’m pretty sure they used a scanner, and the prices were not manually entered by the cashier.

    So this means that I should be able to get the difference in price ($7 x 2) plus another $5 bounty, totalling $19.00, correct?

    Do I have to haul both 44-lbs bags of dog food back to the store with me to prove that there was a sale-priced sticker on them?

  30. Anonymous says:

    You only need your receipt.

  31. Michael says:

    The Item MUST have the price marked on it, if the item does NOT have the price marked on it you are not allowed to get the bounty. If you tell the cashier of the price change and the price is changed at the register you are also not allowed the bounty.

  32. Anonymous says:

    I am a customer service person I get people who go to a automatic do it yourself register try read the wrong barcode(not the clearance one but the other one only to find out that is exempted out of the msa I get people who put different tags(and badly too) on items to get it it I get people who tell me something is onsell its not in the system and its not in the newspaper i go ahead and adjust and they get mad b/c they can't get the msa b/c no psyical proof, I am sorry the ones that are honest but we really do get to alot of scammers and do not care how much they hurt people to try to get their way so we have to put a guard up and protect ourselves form these aholes, that is way most customer people look unhappy and don't last long on the job harrdly

    Ok in the law the item has to be physically marked not in a ad or and not a shelftag it must be on the item itself A customer must have prooof Its like the suer getting yelled at by judge judy for having no actuall proof. ANd the stores are allowed to about 50 exempt

    alot of stores try to even compesate when they can't give the law out all willy nilly sometimes

    People wonder why our country is going to hell(economy,jobs wise) and why other countries try to kill us for being the ruler of all evil