Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Scanning Code of Practice

This is a post that only applies to my fellow Canadians.  It seems as though very few people, actually no one,  I’ve spoken to are aware of this nifty little policy that has repeatedly saved me a good deal of money.

It is estimated that 2% of all purchases scan through at the incorrect price when you take them to the cash register.  Rarely do these errors ever seem to be in your favour.  Unless you diligently check your receipts for errors every time you shop, that’s a good chunk of your wallet gone for no particular reason. 

The Scanning Code of Practice is a policy that many retailers have agreed to, I suppose in order to make it look as though they’re not intentionally trying to rip you off.  Or as they officially phrase it on the government website:
The purpose of the Code is to:
  • Visibly demonstrate retailer commitment to scanner price accuracy;
  • Provide retailers with a consistent national framework for dealing with scanner price accuracy issues; and
  • Provide the retail industry with a mechanism for consumer redress in scanner price accuracy cases, to be managed by a Scanner Price Accuracy Committee.
Here’s how it works: If an item is scanned at the register and the price on the register is higher than the posted price, the customer is entitled to $10 off the price of the item.  If the item costs less than $10, the item is free.   It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?

If you don’t believe me, here’s a report from a couple of years ago about it on Marketplace.  (Sorry, I couldn't embed the video, and can't find it on youtube).

Most large outlets adhere to this rule.  Places where I have personally used it are Costco, Loblaws, Sobeys, Home Depot, Walmart, and Canadian Tire.  Especially Canadian Tire.  Our local store seems to make a ridiculous amount of pricing errors...none of which are to the benefit of the customer, believe me.  In the last year alone I’ve gotten frozen chicken breasts, milk, a frozen cheesecake, router bits, a thermometer, a litter locker, some yard tools, and various kitchen wares either free or at $10 off. 

If the store is bound by this policy, and many of the large retailers are, there will be a sticker somewhere in the vicinity of the cashier, or on the front door that looks like this: 

In my experience, it’s usually partially obscured.  I don’t believe it’s something they want people knowing about.  I’ve also personally found that no cashier in the last year has argued the point with me...but none of them has volunteered the information either. 

So next time you’re at a major retail chain have a glance around for the sticker and keep an eye on those receipts, you could save yourself a pretty penny. 

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