Monday, 10 February 2014


Knowing the Scanning Code of Practice just helped me get a couple of my grocery items free. There were scanning errors of two different items during the same checkout and, because the store participates in the Retail Council's Scanning Code of Practice, they had no choice but to give me the items at no cost. However, they didn't mention the policy, I had to call them on it.

What the policy basically states is that if the price of an item with a UPC bar code is shown higher at checkout than displayed in the store or than advertised by the store, the lower price will be honoured; and
if the price is less than $10.00, the customer will receive the product free;
if the price is more than $10.00, the customer will receive a discount of $10.00 off the correct price;
if there are multiple units of the same product, then the price discount, as above, will apply only to the first unit scanned, the rest of the items will then be sold at the corrected price.
For exact wording, check the Retail Council information provided by the link at the end of this post. 

The Code applies to all scanned Universal Product Code (UPC) bar coded and /or Price Look Up (PLU) merchandise sold in stores, with the exception of goods not easily accessible to the public (e.g. prescription medicine) and individually price-ticketed items.

Participating Stores must abide by this policy - In our area they are:
Loblaws - Dominion, No Frills, Real Canadian Superstore, Your Independent Grocer, Zehrs.
Longos                                                           London Drugs
Metro - Food Basics                                      Shoppers Drug Mart
Safeway Canada                                            
Sobeys - IGA                                                  Best Buy/Future Shop
Thrifty Foods                                                  Canadian Tire
Giant Tiger                                                      Home Depot
Target                                                             Toys r Us 
Many cashiers, and quite a few managers, aren't aware of this policy, its up to the customer to be informed and make sure they receive what they're entitled to. I've had to use this a few times and only once did the store disclose the policy before I asked.

I think the majority of shoppers have had to stand in line, at some time or other, waiting for someone to check on the correct price which, especially if there is a long lineup, can be embarrassing. I know I felt uncomfortable, but if I hadn't been watching I would have paid $9.00 too much on a $30.00 bill. (When this happens, don't you always wonder how many people didn't catch the error and paid too much?) No way was I going to let that happen. As it was, by calling on the code I received the 2 items, valued at $6.49, free. Consider it the Retailer's way of saying "Sorry for the inconvenience".

For a copy of the code, just click on  Canadian Scanning Code of Practice. It’s a really good idea to print a copy (6 pages landscape) and keep it in the shopping binder. Sooner or later, everyone will come across a manager who does not know the policy - having it handy prevents disagreements.

Talk to you again next week,


  1. I'm very aware of the practice. I've bought a bottle of shampoo that rang up wrong. I then ended up paying the sale price plus got another free.
    That was at Shopper. They left the sales sticker on the shelf a day past the sale date and still honoured the code. At Loblaws, I bought a camera case. It rang up the wrong price. I received $10 off the price of the case. Having only to end up paying $1:10 for it.

    Great Post!

    1. Hey Bev
      There's proof it works. Just curious. Did you ask for the freebie or did the store suggest it?
      Thanks for sharing


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