AML Blog - The Scan

Complying with Price Checker Laws in the Northeast

Item Pricing Laws and the Role of the Electronic Price Checker

Most states have item pricing laws that are very specific and sometimes stringent, to protect the consumer. The price at which an item is advertised for sale must match exactly the price that the customer is charged when they check out. If there is a discrepancy that favors the store, the consumer can take steps that in the worst case, could result in the store getting fined. In most cases, pricing discrepancies aren’t a deliberate act, but simply an oversight or carelessness. When some stores have thousands of different SKUs (items), it’s no doubt that some pricing mistakes might be made. The store must be diligent in its efforts to make sure the price on the item, or the shelf or bin, is exactly the same price as what shows up on the register when the item is scanned for checkout.

Some states elevate their item pricing laws to another level by requiring that some stores, especially food stores, install electronic “price checkers” throughout the store for consumers to use. These price checkers can retrieve their price information from the same store server used for the Point-of-Sale system. In theory, the price scanned by the consumer at the price checker should be the same as the price displayed at check-out.  Problems arise when the price marked on the item itself, or its shelf label, doesn’t match the price displayed by the price checker.


Common Price Checker Laws in the Northeast

These laws vary from state to state, but in general the most stringent laws are in the northeastern United States, where electronic price checkers are generally required. Massachusetts spearheaded the first efforts in passing price checker legislation in the late 1970s for the sake of protecting consumers. One by one, other states have followed suit.

One of the most common price checker laws includes annual accuracy checks that are performed on a random sample of products, typically 50 or more depending on how large the store is. The store must have a minimum of 98% accuracy between the posted price of the items and the price reflected by the price checker scanner to receive a passing grade. Retailers can be fined for each item that scans higher than the lowest advertised price.

In some states, each day that a retailer does not correct the issue can be counted as a separate altercation, and they will be fined accordingly. Stores can also be fined for each price tag that they are missing, as they are required to have a posted price for each item.

During daily operations, customers can report if they find a discrepancy between the posted price and the one reflected by a price checker. Laws have been created to help protect the customer in this scenario. In most cases, if the posted price is higher than the scanner price, then the scanner price is what the customer is charged. Conversely, if the scanner price is higher than the posted price, the customer is compensated; if the item was $20 or less they receive the item for free, or if it was greater than $20 they can be compensated with store credit for the price of the item.


Mitigate Losses with AML Price Checker Software & Retail Kiosks

AML’s price scanner kiosks offer the latest and greatest in price checking technology, with a few added bonuses too. We offer two different kiosks: the Monarch+ and the Firebird.

The Monarch+ is a self-service kiosk running Windows 10. This versatile kiosk is useful for more than just price checking, depending on the software. Applications can be developed allowing users to check gift card balances, loyalty points, or even locate a product in the store. The Monarch+ is compatible with AML’s own price verification software StoreScan, designed for rapid deployment with minimal programming or resources required.

The Firebird is our Android based kiosk. It too is compatible with AML’s entire suite of software, including not only StoreScan but also AML Device Manager and AML Setup. Remotely manage your Firebird kiosks alongside other AML devices with ease. You can only find this level of easy to use, refined applications when you choose AML, as our software is exclusively compatible with our mobile computers and retail kiosks.


Other Precautions for Retail Price Checkers

When it comes to taking precautions to minimize any pricing errors in your retail store, there are more steps you can take beyond upgrading your equipment. One of the best ways you can reduce pricing errors is to invest in your people. Make sure that your personnel have been properly trained, engage in their continuous improvement, and ensure they are familiar with current price checking laws throughout their time with the company. If you take the time and care to expand your employees’ skill sets, it will pay off for everyone in the long run.

Another measure you can take if you are in a state with price checker laws is to post the relevant laws where customers can see them. In most states it is required to at least post notices and laws at self-checkout stations, but you can also post them near price checkers or on bulletin boards to bring the laws to everyone’s attention. This can help instill a sense of trust and integrity with your customers while also keeping the information fresh in your employees’ minds.

Price checker laws can seem daunting, but compliance isn’t as difficult as it might seem. Get familiar with your state’s local laws if you haven’t already and do what you can to stay up to date. With the right knowledge you can develop and execute a strategy to maximize the accuracy of your price displays and price checker scanners. If upgrading your retail kiosks is part of your strategy, then you know who to call.



AML can help you select the right price checker kiosk for your retail applications. Get in touch with our barcoding experts today!

Ready to Download Complying with Price Checker Laws in the Northeast
Please press “Accept” to download your copy of the Complying with Price Checker Laws in the Northeast. The software download should begin immediately.

If you are having difficulties with receiving your software download file, please contact us directly. Or call 800-648-4452