The Frugal Frau (Always) Gets Her Money Back

How now smart Frau?

How now smart Frau?

If there is one thing that rankles the Frugal Frau more than any other, it is being charged the wrong price at the supermarket. It happens to all of us…and it happens more often than you might think. You can’t blame the cashiers, whose job is simply to scan whatever’s on the belt and collect accordingly. It’s been estimated, though, that 2% of all items scanned ring up at the wrong price and if you don’t think that can add up to a lot of money over the course of a normal business day, well, you need some practice on the abacus.

The Frau has questioned grocery store managers about this and most say they can’t keep up with the constant barrage of new prices dictated daily from head office. So, apparently, there’s a lag in pricing that a lot of people simply overlook.

The big retailers in Canada voluntarily subscribe to a money-back policy when these things happen. It’s called the Scanner Price Accuracy Voluntary Code and it’s been around for more than seven years. The Frau says you should know about it and you should use that information with confidence every time you stand at a checkout.

Here’s how it works.

Let’s say you’re grocery shopping and somewhere in your heavily laden cart is a box of cereal that’s marked on the shelf for $4. When the cashier scans the bar code that same cereal rings up at $4.50. Under the Voluntary Scanning Code you are entitled to that box of cereal for free. Free. The cashier might try to refund you the 50 cent difference instead, but you should hold your ground..ask for the manager, if need be..because the code is completely clear.

This provision applies to any item up to a value of $10. That’s any item that doesn’t already have a price sticker on it. If it scans higher than what’s marked on the shelf,  in an advertisement or in any other displayed price…you get it free.

It also only applies to the first of any particular item. You can’t, for example, stack 30 cereal boxes in your cart and hope for a big windfall.

If you add up all the difference between what products are supposed to sell for and what they scan for,  you’d be gobsmacked at the totality of the margins.

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The Frugal Frau advises you to watch that checkout counter like an Short-Haired German Pointer on a Ring-necked Pheasant.

Until next week remember, always pay the right price and : Seid nett zueinander! (Be nice to each other)

For more information about the Scanning Price Accuracy Voluntary Code click on this link to the Competition Bureau of Canada.


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