A few months ago we asked our Facebook friends what they most wanted to hear about on this blog. One topic that came up was the Scanning Code of Practice: specifically, what is it and when does it apply?

Before I kick things off, please know that all of the information in this post comes from the Competition Bureau. While Consumer Protection BC doesn’t have oversight over BC’s retail sales industry, we wanted to share this information as we felt it would be useful for consumers.

The Scanning Code of Practice (technically called the Scanner Price Accuracy Voluntary Code) is endorsed by the Competition Bureau, evolving through the collaborative efforts of the Retail Council of Canada, the Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada, the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers and the Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors (former).

What are the features of the Scanning Code of Practice?

If the scanned price of a non-price ticketed item (an item with a barcode that doesn’t have a price tag stuck to it) is higher than the shelf price or any other displayed price, the customer is entitled to receive the item free, up to a $10 maximum. When the item has a price tag, the lowest price applies. When identical items are incorrectly priced, the second one will be sold at the correct price.

Does the Code apply to all retail outlets?

No, participation in the code is voluntary. The Code covers all scanned merchandise at participating retail outlets (a list of participants can be accessed on the Retail Council of Canada’s website, near the bottom of the page). Look for this sign at store entrances or checkouts:
Code of practice

Where can I go to complain?

If you are not satisfied with the cashier’s decision regarding the application of the Code, at a participating store, the Competition Bureau recommends you first speak to the store manager or supervisor. If you are still dissatisfied, you may register a complaint with the Scanner Price Accuracy Committee, by calling 1-866-499-4599.

More information about the Scanning Code of Practice can be accessed off the Competition Bureau’s website, here. I hope this information was useful!

About Consumer Protection BC

We are responsible for regulating specific industries and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.

ADDITIONAL READING:

Dear Consumer Protection BC: returns and refunds
How to request a refund from your credit card provider
Misleading advertisements: what can be done about it?