If you’ve heard of the Michigan “Bounty” or Scanner Law, a law that allows a consumer to be compensated for being overcharged on an item, it will be changing as of September 1, 2011.
The reason for the change is that a recent law says that retailers no longer have to price every item in a store (known as the Michigan Sticker Law), given that a price is displayed somewhere that clearly indicates the price of the item (e.g. a tag on a shelf, electronic readers, etc).; from the Michigan.gov website:
…the most fundamental change is that retailers are required to display the price of items offered for sale in the store at the place where the item is located, but are no longer required to individually mark the price on the item itself.
This does not mean that the bounty is going away completely, as I was incorrectly informed at a store last night. It means that it will be less likely that a consumer will need to claim the bounty.
There are still instances where it could be claimed. For example, if there’s a “manager’s special” and the store forgot to update their system’s price as well, and you’re charged the original price, you can still claim the bounty on that. From the Michigan.gov website:
If an automatic checkout system (scanner) 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 $250.00, whichever is greater, plus reasonable attorney fees up to $300.00.
So, in short: an individual item can’t be mismarked, since there are no longer any price stickers, but a group of items can be if their signage is incorrect. If you are charged incorrectly from the displayed price, you can still claim the bounty just as before.
Thumbnail photo via sylvar’s flickr.