Have you ever gotten home from the store and realized that you've been overcharged for an item? Mistakes happen, that's for sure, but when this happens to you, you deserve a reward! Don't forget to take advantage of Michigan's scanner law.

What is Michigan's Scanner Law?

Let's start with Michigan's Item Pricing Laws. Michigan's Shopping Reform and Modernization Act went into effect in 2011, replacing a similar pricing law that was implemented in 1976.

Both acts were designed to hold retailers accountable, stating that item prices must be displayed clearly and that those prices must match the prices programmed into stores' electronic scanners.

Originally, Michigan retailers had to stamp or price each item with a price sticker. But as of 2011, the law has been updated so retailers can display the prices of items with shelf signs (sometimes called shelf tags) or by other means to clearly convey items' prices. (Individual items no longer need to be stamped or stickered.)

What Happens if You Get Overcharged?

This is where it gets fun. In Michigan, if a store's scanner charges you more than the displayed price for an item, you're entitled to a reward. (Sometimes called a 'Bounty.')

Once the transaction is complete, and you have a receipt that indicates the price you were charged, do the following:

  • Notify the retailer, either in person or in writing. This must be done within 30 days.
  • The seller must refund you the difference between the amount you were charged and the item's marked price.
  • You are also entitled to a bonus of ten times the difference. The bonus must be at least $1.00 and may not exceed $5.00.

The law goes on to stipulate that if a retailer doesn't pay the refund and the bonus, you may bring a lawsuit against the seller to recover actual damages or $250.00, whichever is greater.

Most Michigan retailers happily cooperate when you ask for the reward, but they sometimes don't volunteer to pay it.

It always pays to ask.

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