When the Price is not Right

Have you ever heard of the “Scanning Code of Practice”? If you have, at one point at the check out you must have claimed an item up to $10 for free at a participating retail outlet. For the few that are new to this, I will be glad to share this information with you.

What is the Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) or the Scanner Price Accuracy Voluntary Code?



(Actual statement from www.retailcouncil.org)

Canadian retailers are committed to accurate scanner pricing. Incorrect prices can result in poor customer relations and legal sanctions. Consequently, many retailers are now implementing a variety of procedures that were developed to help achieve and maintain accurate scanner pricing.

The Scanner Price Accuracy Voluntary Code (“the Code”) evolved from the collaborative efforts of Retail Council of Canada (RCC), the Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada and the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers (CFIG). These associations are composed of national, regional and local retailers selling a wide assortment of general merchandise, as well as pharmaceutical and food products.

This diversity in the Canadian retail environment underscores the advisability of a voluntary code that can be widely used.

The Scanner Price Accuracy Voluntary Code has been endorsed by the Competition Bureau.


The purpose of the Code is to:

  1. Visibly demonstrate retailer commitment to scanner price accuracy;
  2. Provide retailers with a consistent national framework for dealing with scanner price accuracy issues; and
  3. Provide the retail industry with a mechanism for consumer redress in scanner price accuracy cases, to be managed by the industry through an industry committee.


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 drugs and behind-the-counter cosmetics), and individually price-ticketed items.

The Code does not apply in provinces or territories where existing legislation or regulation covers these concerns.

I’ve mentioned something about a free item and the price of $10. This is what you need to know and what the participating retailer must abide by. The underlined text will be the first step in redeeming this benefit.

There will be scenarios where us customers could get a little greedy, but the information from this post will cover all of that. Please read the policy carefully but it is pretty much straight forward.



Retailers will implement an Item Free Scanner Policy as follows:

1.1 On a claim being presented by the customer, where the scanned price of a product at checkout is higher than the price displayed in the store or than advertised by the store, the lower price will be honoured; and


(a) if the correct price of the product is $10 or less, the retailer will give the product to the customer free of charge; or

(b) if the correct price of the product is higher than $10, the retailer will give the customer a discount of $10 off the correct price.

Click here to view full policy


You must have seen the picture below at some retail shops. I have seen these around and most of the time I don’t even bother reading them. The reason for that is, it looks like a store’s refund policy.

Actual sign at participating retailers











Check out the list of these participating retailers

—> Click here

In conclusion, everyone hates to deal with a pricing error because of the long line ups at the customer service desk. With the Scanning Code of Practice, it actually benefits both customer and retailer. As a result, the customer will get an item for free or $10 off and the retailer would avoid any negative shopping experience that a customer may have because of a pricing adjustment or long waits.

As a result, I hope this information will be useful for many of you shoppers. Finally, don’t forget to share this post if you enjoyed it and thanks for reading.


Retail Council of Canada (RCC): http://www.retailcouncil.org/scanner-accuracy

CB (Competition Bureau): http://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/03252.html