Changing The Scanner Law
Posted: 2007-09-07. Categories: Meijer, Michigan

I’ve been reading your recounts as stated by Meijer customers who have had scanning errors, particularly the ones that apply to “sale” items. My question is this … Where does one start to attempt to change this scanning law to include items advertised (either by in-store circular or shelf sign) as on sale?

I’ve tried contacting the AG’s office and all they do is reiterate the law as it is written. They can’t change it.

Today I once again purchased an item in good faith as “on sale.” If it weren’t on sale, I would not have bought it. Of course (I average one scanning error per visit), it did not ring up on sale and when I brought it to the attention of the girl at the service desk, she recited the item pricing law by heart.

“It doesn’t apply unless there is a sale price marked on the item. A sign doesn’t count.” This was a CD. They do not mark any of the sale CDs. Just place a shelf sign. I notice it is the same with soda on sale — each item is not marked with any price, just a sign posted 3/$8.

This is not consistent with the letter of the law but how does one lowly consumer make a difference?

Ellen Wigginton

3 Comments to "Changing The Scanner Law"

  1. Retail Bandit says:

    Dear Ellen,

    The Attorney General’s office is correct, their job is to enforce the laws, as they are written, not to create laws.

    The problem we are seeing is a result of an ineffective law intended to protect consumers against excessive scanning errors. Fixing the problem is a complicated one because the remedy will be a costly one. Let me tell you why.

    If the Item Pricing Act is changed to require a “reward” for all items mismarked, stores will be forced to hire more clerks, which in turn will increase the cost to consumers even to the point of putting some stores out of business. For example: We have one grocery store in our community and I would really hate to see it go under.

    On the other hand, our current situation results in customers being overcharged, which costs consumers untold millions of dollars each year.

    Once a workable solution is found, which properly addresses the situation, a letter should be drafted to your legislator describing the problem and any solutions you deem functional. Be sure to include any known downside to your resolution, this will allow your legislator to work on alternatives or a possible compromise with any opposition forces.

    I won’t lie to you, it’s a slow process but one that is designed to keep our legislators from creating rash laws, which have the potential to cause more harm than good.

    It may be necessary to write more than one letter or even to schedule a personal visit with your representative. Once you have him or her on board, it would be wise to ask others to join you in requesting changes, write letters to the editor of your local paper, call radio stations and create awareness.

    Alone it’s an insurmountable task, but together with other consumers, mountains can be moved.

    I hope you find this information helpful

  2. Retail Bandit says:

    For some strange reason, I seem to recall hearing the “doomsday theory” at the time the law was implemented. Stores won’t close. Today the pricing of store product is much easier than it was when the law was first enacted and all we heard then was that hundreds of stores would be forced to close if they had to affix a price to each item for sale.

    Retailers will do and/or say anything to avoid correcting the situation. I’ll continue my research to determine who has been working on this change and how I can help.


  3. Retail Bandit says:

    At least one reader doesn’t agree with the way many stores interpret how the law reads (and I’m inclined to agree). Merchants appear to be using only part of the law, and excluding an important section of the law. For more details, please read Exemption Does Not Apply.