Rep. Darany: Be Wary of Effects of New Item Pricing Laws

Consumers should know their rights under the new law
Wednesday, December 14, 2011

LANSING - State Representative George T. Darany (Dearborn) reminded constituents today about the modified consumer rights under the new item pricing law which took effect Sept. 1, 2011.

The 2011 Shopping Reform and Modernization Act or “Scanner Law” made changes to how item prices had to be displayed. The new Scanner Law permits the price to be displayed by signage, electronic reader, or any other method that clearly conveys the price to a consumer when in the store at the place where the item is located. The most fundamental change is that retailers are no longer required to individually mark the price on the item itself.

“As many of our residents head to the stores to do their holiday shopping, it’s important to pay closer attention at the checkout lane to ensure the price you expect to pay is the price you will be paying,” said Darany. “Having the price sticker on the goods in the store made this an easy job for consumers, but with the change in the law, I worry that listing the prices near the items on store shelves will lead to confusion for residents and the possibility of being over charged in a time in our state where we are watching our money closer than ever.”

Also included in the legislation was an appropriation that makes the law referendum proof meaning residents cannot vote to have the law changed. According to the state of Michigan attorney general Web site, if an automatic checkout system charges you more than the displayed price of an item, and the transaction has been completed and you have a receipt indicating the item purchased and the price charged for it, you must notify the seller that you were overcharged within 30 days of the transaction, either in person or in writing. Within two days of receiving your notice, the seller may choose to refund you the difference between the amount charged and the price displayed plus a “bonus” of ten times the difference, with a minimum of $1.00 and a maximum of $5.00. If the seller refuses to give you both the refund and the bonus, you may bring a lawsuit to recover your actual damages or $250, whichever is greater, plus reasonable attorney fees up to $300.

Complaints regarding a store’s failure to properly display the price of consumer items offered for sale should be directed to the Department of Agriculture & Rural Development, Weights & Measures Section in the E.C. Heffron Laboratory, by calling (517) 655-8202 or toll-free 800-632-3835, in writing addressed to 940 Venture Lane, Williamston, MI 48895 or online at www.michigan.gov/ag.