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The Massachusetts Item Pricing Law was written to ensure that food retailers remained consistent and accurate in how they charge consumers. Since its last update in 2013, the law has been extended to cover consumer-use price scanners and automated check out systems. The Division of Standards routinely monitors food departments and stores for their compliance in price scanning accuracy.  The large crowds of shoppers that descend upon the aisles in preparation for the holidays rightfully expect the correct prices of their ingredients to be displayed. Shoppers can have one less thing to stress over during the holiday season because of price scanning accuracy.

Sticking to their budgets will be easy if consumers are mindful or their purse and the law. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Food stores or departments that elect to use scanner systems must provide in-aisle price scanners for consumer use.
  • Food stores or departments that do not use price scanners are required to individually price each item in addition to displaying the price on the shelves.
  • Some items may be exempt from the provisions of the law such as milk or candy because of how quickly they sell.
  • If a grocer offers a rewards or discount card, the regular price must be displayed alongside the discounted price.

Food retailers try very hard to maintain accurate prices, but even the most diligent personnel and systems sometime fail. If there is a discrepancy between the price listed on the shelve or item and the price that scans, they must offer one of two corrections. If the price is higher and the item is more than $10, $10 must be deducted form the price. If the price is higher and the item is less than $10, the item should be given as free.

Shopping for joyous occasions shouldn’t bring gloom. Consumers who stay informed this holiday season are bound to enjoy the festivities without worry and stress. Follow the Office of Consumer Affairs on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer, for more shopping tips. Happy Holidays!

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