Scanning Code Of Practice—What Is It and How Does It Protect Consumers?
My daughter and I shopped at Shopper's Drug Mart yesterday and as we were about to leave the store I noticed on my receipt that a beauty product purchase had scanned through at the incorrect price. I had only paid 50 cents more than the price listed on the shelf tag. Not really a big deal...
Except... imagine if everyone across Canada paid 50 cents more on the same item. It adds up to a lot of extra money in the pockets of a retail store, when those savings should be passed onto the consumer.
I approached the salesclerk with my receipt and product in hand and politely asked if she would be able to apply the 'Scanning Code of Practice' on the item. This is a program that the Retail Council Of Canada has implemented; stores voluntarily participating are required to follow the procedures that are outlined by the Retail Council of Canada. The Scanner Price Accuracy Code is more commonly called the Scanning Code of Practice, or, SCOP.
She asked me to take her over to where I had found the product, where she then removed the shelf tag after checking that the UPC code on the product was the same as that on the shelf tag. Quite often customers will put items 'back' on the wrong shelf—other customers view the incorrect shelf price tag then ask for the SCOP to be applied when the price rings up higher than expected. This is why the store staff need to see where the item was found, the displayed shelf tag (price), and whether or not the UPC codes match up. With the salesclerk quickly removing the shelf tag on the spot in my case it showed that the SCOP policies were correctly implemented at that store.
If you ever have an item scan in at less than the marked price you can not request that the scanning code of practice come into play. The SCOP is only valid when the customer has been overcharged on an item.
So, you might be asking, why should we waste our time over a small price error? Many people don't want to 'waste time' and will walk away. The point of SCOP though is to protect consumers in the long run. By having the customers report the errors the stores become more efficient in correctly labeling the shelf prices.
Here's what's in it for you: You should receive the first item that scanned incorrectly, for free if the retail price is under $10. If the item is over $10 you will receive $10 off. In my case yesterday I received the beauty product having a value of $8.50, for free. I was credited the full amount of the price I paid. Then the sales associate entered a special code into the cash register so that the product would ring though at $0.00 and reflect "Price Amend: Scanning Code of Practice" on the receipt.
What if I were purchasing three of the same products, would they all be free? No. When more than one of the same item (with the same UPC code) is incorrectly scanned you will receive the first one free or will receive $10 off if the item has a value of over $10. All other items will then be charged at the price that was displayed on the shelf. With products that are the same but have different flavours or scents, sometimes the UPC codes on each item are different, so the SCOP would actually apply to each UPC! Sometimes the store employees are unfamiliar with that. In any case, pleasantly explaining the SCOP rules and allowing them time to look into it usually helps.
Remember that all of the stores who participate in this are doing so voluntarily; however, it does not mean they get to make up their own rules on the fly. You will want to learn which stores participate in SCOP. Stores that do participate in it will have signs at their checkouts, as well! Become familiar with SCOP policies. If, for example, they offer to 'adjust the price for you' to what the shelf price displayed, you can politely remind them that you should be receiving the first item under $10 for free because of SCOP.
You can find out more about the rules in the links below.
Since you are on Bargainmoose right now you clearly are a great deal hunter and know exactly what the 'thrill' of getting a good deal feels like! So SCOP on, our fellow deal hunters, SCOP on!
When a store has erroneously refused to honour SCOP policies you may contact the Retail Council of Canada about the Scanner Price Accuracy Code (otherwise known as SCOP), or file a complaint. You can contact them by phoning 1-866-499-4599.
We would love to hear from you! Please share with us some of your SCOP experiences in the comments below!
(Image: Polycart on Creative Commons)