Saturday, July 21, 2012

How I made $5 today because of the Michigan Bounty

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons
Know Your Rights under the Michigan Scanner Law...

Today I was in Target picking up some groceries including my son's favorite juice. After I paid for the items at checkout, I paused as I always do before leaving the store to check my receipt for price errors.  It was then that I noticed the juice scanned for $2.54 when the displayed price was $1.99.

I immediately took my receipt and the juice over to customer service to point out the error. The customer service rep adjusted the price of the juice and refunded me 55 cents plus $5 for a total of $5.55. WHAT? Why did Target give me an extra $5? Because of the Michigan Bounty, of course.

Scanner Law protects Michigan Consumers
The Michigan Scanner Law (nicknamed The Michigan Bounty) allows a Michigan consumer to be compensated for being overcharged on an item due to a scanner error. Under this law you are entitled to receive the difference between the displayed price and what you were charged, plus an additional "bonus" or "bounty" of ten times the difference.

Merchant limits under the Michigan Scanner Law
Before you get all happy looking for huge errors on your receipt, the law puts limits on the bounty that the store must pay you.  The bonus must be at least $1.00, but may not be more than $5.00. And if you buy more than one of the items that scanned incorrectly, you can only get the bounty for the first item.  So the bounty for my scanner error today for the juice was limited to $5.

There are lots of exclusions under this law.  One is that if the item is on sale and it scans for the regular price, you are only entitled to a price adjustment and not the bounty.  Also, if you notice the price scanned incorrectly at checkout and you inform the clerk before you pay for the item, you are not entitled to the bounty.

The law states that you have 30 days to notify the seller of the error and get the bounty, but I think it is better and easier for both you and the merchant to check your receipt before you leave the store and get the bounty right then and there.  While you are still in the store, you have all the evidence needed to claim the bounty.  Once you leave, keeping track of the evidence including the receipt becomes a lot harder.

So always stop before leaving the store to check that receipt for scanner errors.  And make sure you know your consumer rights under Michigan law so you never pay more than you have to.



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