Price Swap: Retail Discretion
Posted: 2008-08-08. Categories: Home Depot, Michigan, Retail Stores

I was at Home Depot in Plymouth, MI this past Saturday night shopping for flooring.

While shopping I found 7 cartons of laminate flooring all marked with green stickers for $3.77. I have shopped at Home Depot for years and have always known green stickers to be clearance/closeout items.

Not thinking much of it I loaded up all 7 cartons (the last 7 cartons) onto my cart and made my way to the check out. As the cashier was scanning the items she commented to me, “I hope you don’t think you are getting these for $3.77.”

I replied a bit confused, “Sure why wouldn’t I that is what they are marked.” She stated, “That price is a mistake, I can’t sell them at that price.”

I asked to see the manager, he arrived and said that the pricing was a mistake and he did not have to honor the error.

I said of course it was a mistake as all pricing errors are, and that I thought the law clearly stated that the items have to be sold for the price marked.

He explained that he did not know the “specific” wording of the law but he knew that the law allowed for retailers discretion, and as such he was not going to honor the price that was marked.

I said that if the “retailers discretion” was the determining factor, then the retailer would always use the excuse that the pricing error was a mistake and it was up to their discretion.

He asked (told) me to leave.

My question is what exactly is the law, and does the retailer have any discretion on this issue?

Eric Forrest

1 Comment to "Price Swap: Retail Discretion"

  1. Retail Bandit says:

    Dear Eric,

    The manager is incorrect, Michigan law, §4: Section 445.354, is the code section you will want to refer him to:

    §4: Section 445.354: Charging more or less than price indicated; evidence of violation.

    1. A person shall not knowingly charge or attempt to charge for a consumer item a retail sale price exceeding the price required to be indicated pursuant to section 3. It shall not be construed to be a violation of this act to charge for a consumer item a total price less than the price required to be indicated pursuant to section 3.

    2. It shall be prima facie evidence of a violation of this section if a price charged or attempted to be charged as a result of electronic identification or calculation by an automatic checkout system exceeds the price required to be indicated pursuant to section 3.

    I’d head right back to the store with a copy of the entire section of the law in hand and make the manager show you, where in the law it says he has the right to not honor the prices indicated on the items they offer for sale.

    He can’t!

    If the manager is not forthcoming with a satisfactory remedy for his judgement error, do bring this to the attention of Home Depot’s Corporate Headquarters. You have standing to bring a case against their company.