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Consumer Tip: Scanning Code of Practice

Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP)

Did you know that if a major retailer scans your item for the incorrect price that you may qualify for a discount on that item?  Sometimes the store may give the item to you free simply because of the error!

Most major retailers in Canada follow a voluntary rule that’s called the Scanning Code of Practice.  According to the retail council, this is their definition:

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 corrected price.

These are the stores that follow this practice:

  • Shoppers Drug Mart
  • The Groupe Jean Coutu (NB and Ont only)
  • Lawton Drug Stores
  • London Drugs
  • Lovell Drugs
  • Pharma-save (BC and Sask)
  • Pharma Plus
  • Canada Safeway Limited
  • The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company of Canada Limited
  • Loblaw Companies Limited
  • Sobeys Inc.
  • Metro Inc.
  • Thrifty Foods
  • Costco Wholesale Canada Ltd.
  • Co-op Atlantic
  • Federated Co-operatives Limited
  • RCC Supporting Companies:
  • Costco Wholesale Canada Ltd.
  • The Home Depot Canada
  • Canadian Tire Corporation Ltd.
  • Toys r Us
  • Rona
  • Wal*Mart Canada Corp.
  • Giant Tiger Stores Ltd.
  • The North West Company
  • Best Buy/Future Shop
  • 2 Home Hardware franchisees
  • Thrifty Foods
  • Overwaitea Food Group
  • The Harry Watson Group
  • Longos Brothers Fruit Markets
  • + 1374 independent locations

So next time you’re shopping at one of the retailers listed above, make sure to watch the check out monitor like a hawk as you may be entitled to a discount if there is an error.  Even without the incentive, you should be watching the prices anyways as errors in pricing happen all the time, and usually not in the consumers favour!

From personal experience, I have used the scanning code of practice when buying groceries at Loblaws.  Have you used this rule to your advantage?  If so, with what store?

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FrugalTrader About the author: FrugalTrader is the founder and editor of Million Dollar Journey (est. 2006). Through various financial strategies outlined on this site, he grew his net worth from $200,000 in 2006 to $1,000,000 by 2014. You can read more about him here.

{ 57 comments… add one }

  • Carol February 14, 2015, 9:07 pm

    What do you do if the retailer denies you the SCOP. I was at Walmart buying a booster seat for my child. The tag clearly showed on sale for $28 from $38 however it rang up at $49.98. I had to fight for 20 minutes for them to give me the sale price which clearly was marked down twice. When they finally agreed that it was on sale for $28 I asked about SCOP and the manager told me to be thankful I was getting it at the sale price. Who can you contact about them not honouring this? So frustrating. I left the store with my seat and felt like a criminal in the end. I sent 2 email complaints. One to walmart head office and the other to the manager of this particular walmart to which I have had no replies at all. Sad

  • Jocelyn Boyde February 15, 2015, 10:11 am

    I was in Shoppers Drug Mart in Gander. I bought a box of chocolates which rang up higher than the sale tag price. The cashier went over to check the tag, took it off and put it in her pocket. I went over to the shelf and saw the sale tag was gone and I saw her put it in her pocket. She pointed out to me the regular price of the item and I said there was a sale tag there and I believe it is in your pocket. She hesitated but then acknowledged that indeed it was in her pocket. I got the chocolates at no charge. I was shocked that a sales clerk would do that. The scanning code practice is there for a couple reasons. To protect the customer but also to see how the scanning procedure is working.

  • Jocelyn Boyde February 16, 2015, 8:41 am

    Richard…..I have seen the deceptive practices of cashiers who deliberately attempt to not follow the scanning code practice. That game can be played by customers too. When the cashier attempts to hide the sale tag…..that’s taking this issue to another level.

  • Midnight-crossing March 15, 2015, 3:27 am

    Richard, I am one of those shoppers who look for price tags and sales that already ended and are still posted. I make no excuses that I indeed go shopping for free things from SCOP. I can almost recite the code by heart and have a copy available on my smartphone. Just today I had 5 qualifying items, the stock boy went to check prices as I stood at cash and came back to claim only one had a wrong tag…he even proceeded to as me to follow him so he could show me. Yup, you guessed it, he removed them all but one…you should have seen the look on his face when I said “it was there a minute ago, want to see the photo on my phone?” BUSTED!!! Yeah, so I have zero problems going into a store to purposely look for mispriced items. Mind you I only “buy for free” things I use. Otherwise I could walk away with $400 in goods too. Today it was just $50 in nail polish.

  • Midnight-crossing March 15, 2015, 3:35 am

    Also of note, it’s the stores responsibility to make sure customers aren’t overcharged!! Once I get my SCOP freebie(s), I’ve helped the store do the work the staff didn’t do (or whoever usually removes the price tags on last weeks sale items). That’s my pay for being observant. I never thought about doing a $400-$500 SCOP but I sure as heck could at almost any give time. Maybe some stores need a lesson like that. Hmmmmm, you’ve really got my mind thinking now…

  • Stoney353 March 28, 2015, 9:50 am

    There’s an awesome blog on Facebook regarding SCOP.

  • Stoney353 March 28, 2015, 9:58 am

    I had an incident yesterday at Canadian tires in which three of my eight items rang in incorrectly…they refused to comply with their SCOP policy which is posted at the cash and also at customer service. Upon speaking to the manager I was informed that their store does not comply to the scanning code of practice and the signs are only posted for corporate reasons. After a lengthy discussion with the GM, he finally gave me the three items for free. However I did phone head office to confirm whether or not they follow this policy and indeed they do. For my troubles they will be sending me a gift card and speaking to staff at store #154.

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