Scanner Price Accuracy Code – Get A Discount If Items Scanned Incorrectly

Have you ever bought something and the price at the cashier was different than the sticker or shelf price?  If so, you might be able to score a discount on that item.

The Scanner Price Accuracy Code is a voluntary code of practice which seems to be pretty common in larger stores and chains.

The way it works is that if an item is scanned incorrectly, the customer is entitled to up to a $10 discount on that item.  If the item price is less than $10, then it is free.

The discount can be applied to multiple unique items.  If you buy three cans of Campbell’s chicken soup and the price is wrong, you only get the discount on the first can.  If you buy three different types of soup and they are all incorrectly priced, the discount will apply to each unique product.

I’ve had two occasions to use this code, both times at Canadian Tire. The first time was when I bought some light bulbs on sale at 50% off, but the scanned price was the regular price.  I paid for the items and then went to customer service to get my $7.38 refunded. Given that I spent about 10 minutes of my lunch hour getting that money, it wasn’t really worth it, but I wanted to check out the process. That time I had no problem getting my money back.

Recently however, I bought some camping items at Canadian Tire and there were two scanning errors. Unfortunately, I had my kids with me and by the time we got to the cash, I didn’t pay any attention to the scanned prices, since I just wanted to get the hell out of there. The bill ended up being more than I thought, so when I got home I checked the receipt and there were two items with the incorrect prices.

A cooler I bought was on sale for $24.95, but I was charged the regular price of $44.95. I also bought two small propane tanks which were supposed to be $3.89 each, but I was charged $10.98 each.  After checking the website, I realized that these tanks were also sold in 3-packs which cost $10.98.

I went back to Canadian Tire the next day and asked for price corrections which they did without complaint.  However, when I mentioned the Scanner Price Accuracy Code, she wouldn’t give it to me on either item.

For the cooler, she said that the sale had ended when I bought it, but she would honour the posted sale price. She also added that she couldn’t verify that the sale price had been posted on the shelf when I made my purchase.
As for the propane tanks, she said that the tanks I bought had been part of a 3-pack and had probably been broken up by another customer (I doubt it). She said there was no error because the price reflected the 3-pack price.

I disagreed – in both cases the items were on their proper shelf and had the prices below them. The fact that there were reasonable explanations for price differences and that it might have not been the fault of Canadian Tire, doesn’t change the fact that the prices I was charged were different than the posted prices and as far as I’m concerned, they should have given me the discount.

Tips for getting the scanning discount

  • Look for a posted sign at the cashier station to see if the store adheres to this practice.
  • Watch the prices as the scanning occurs.  It’s a lot easier to prove an error at that time, rather than later on.
  • Make sure you ask about the Scanner Price Accuracy Code if applicable. It’s very unlikely the cashier will mention it unprompted.
  • Don’t shop with your kids.

What do you think?  Should I have gotten a scanning error discount? Have you ever gotten a discount (or been refused) using this code?



9 replies on “Scanner Price Accuracy Code – Get A Discount If Items Scanned Incorrectly”

I love this Code! I try to watch at the till that I’m being charged the correct price. The number of errors that are made are unreal! I’ve received a discount because of scanning errors at Shoppers Drug Mart several times…never been refused. Yes….you should have received the discount – especially on the tanks. I suspect speaking to the Manager would have resolved it.

@Lara – I guess I could have asked to speak to the manager, but I couldn’t be bothered.

The code does say that in case of disagreement, a manager should be summoned, which didn’t happen.

Do they honor the code for produce items also? I’ve always had a problem with Wal-mart. They don’t change the scan prices to reflect their flyer prices until later on the day of the sale. When I complain, they grudgingly just give me the sale prices. I always check my receipt before I leave the store nowadays.

Scanning Code Price Accuracy Code does have a toll free phone number to help with any store disputes over SCOP.The toll free phone number is on the Scanning Code Price Accuracy website and on the Scanning Code Price Accuracy store signs.

I don’t know about other provinces, but at least in Quebec, you don’t have to “Look for a posted sign at the cashier station” because it is mandatory. They have to give you that refund.

Joanne via email

I’ve used the scanning code of practice on numerous occasions.  You’re right though – you have to have the presence of mind to be on top of the posted price, recognize that you’ve been incorrectly charged and then raise the issue and take the time to resolve it.  Shopping with kids doesn’t not contribute to your ability to accomplish any of this easily.

I recommend to wait till you paid and you have written proof (your receipt) and go to customer service to sort out this mess.
You will have less of a line up behind you.

Basics grocery store isn’t aware of this “code” even though the sticker with the rules is on the counter in front of them.
(it’s upside down so they can’t read it and deny it’s existance even when I pointed to the sticker).

There is a government agency but they just send you a letter explaining why this code was implemented and they don’t enforce it.
The government is in cohoots with big business as usual and the consumers get screwed as usual.

Loblaws honors this code but not Basics, not Zellers, not Wallmart.

I picked up some chocolate on sale for $2.99 according to the sign on the display at the Shoppers Drug Mart in Ottawa ,Ontario. At the cash register, I was charged $6.30 instead of $2.99 plus tax. After a long time, another clerk confirmed that the right price was $2.99 but no one seemed aware of the existence of the Scanner Price Accuracy Code and I was not offered the chocolate for free. Shoppers Drug Mart is on the list of business adhering to the Code. So I requested it. Someone else was called who – after a long delay – called another person. After more delay, a tall man appeared. He never introduced himself. There were now 4 Shoppers Drug Mart employees standing at the cash machine -with me – because of a financial crisis over $2.99 worth of chocolate. The tall man informed me that I had made a mistake. I had not picked up the right article, even though the standalone display where I picked it up had a large sign saying: $2.99. Nevertheless, the man still adamantly refused to apply the item free provision of the Scanner Price Accuracy Code.
After more than 15 minutes, it became obvious to me that the man – who was becoming increasingly agitated – was determined not to absorb a $2.99 loss – no matter the cost to Shoppers Drug Mart. I mention that because there were 3 clerks plus the tall man preventing access to the cash register for about a dozen customers for about 15 minutes all for the purpose of saving Shoppers Drug Mart : $2.99.
A kafkaesque situation. But that is not all. As I was leaving, the tall man shouted an 800 telephone number – apparently the customer service office for Shoppers Drug Mart. His way of saying – I won and there is nothing you can do about it because I know the customer service department is going to back me up. If the man I talked to is what passes for good customer service at Shoppers Drug Mart, I don’t need to call, I have already become quite familiar with their work.

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