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  • Pricing Error Laws: When Your Store Has to Honor a Glitch Price


    Note: It is a good idea to bookmark this article, just in case next time you’re standing at the checkout line with a manager over a pricing error. You can also access this page by memorizing and typing this in a web browser: “

    Glitches and pricing errors can be fantastic little “surprise deals” when you’re able to get them from your stores. However, the “when you’re able to get them” is the biggest hurdle to overcome. Luckily, if you live in California (or one of several other states), you have the law on your side!

    In this article, I’m going to talk about how pricing error laws work to the benefit of the consumer, and how to use them. I’m going to focus specifically on how this law works in California, but you can check the full list of states to see if yours participates.

    When this happens (weather it’s a display price tag or ringing up at the price scanner), what I do is take a picture of the signage and show it to cashier at checkout. They will usually bring a manager over to resolve the issue. When they don’t, that’s when I will recite the CA Pricing Error Law below.


    When you see Free Stuff Finder posting deals on pricing errors (such as this KitchenAid deal at Target) we always mention false advertising laws. This is because many states have specific laws that protects consumers from paying a higher price than from what is advertised on the shelf. So, if you see a price tag on the shelf that seems way lower than what it should be, keep in mind that your store may have to honor it or face fines and penalties! 

    I’ve never had a store not honor display price errors. One time (Star Wars Dolls ringing up for $0.99 in January 2016) the manager tried to refuse, I simply pulled out the following law and read it to her. She stepped away and allowed me to buy several of the toy. Hope this comes in handy for you. Let me know in the comments below if you know of such a law in other states.

    Specifically, California’s Business and Professional Code states this (Also see this code here and additional discussion here):

    California B&P Code #12024.2.

    (a) It is unlawful for any person, at the time of sale of
    a commodity, to do any of the following:

    • (1) Charge an amount greater than the price, or to compute an
      amount greater than a true extension of a price per unit, that is
      then advertised, posted, marked, displayed, or quoted for that
    • (2) Charge an amount greater than the lowest price posted on the
      commodity itself or on a shelf tag that corresponds to the commodity,
      notwithstanding any limitation of the time period for which the
      posted price is in effect.

    (b) A violation of this section is a misdemeanor punishable by a
    fine of not less than twenty-five dollars ($25) nor more than one
    thousand dollars ($1,000), by imprisonment in the county jail for a
    period not exceeding one year, or by both, if the violation is
    willful or grossly negligent, or when the overcharge is more than one
    dollar ($1).

    (c) A violation of this section is an infraction punishable by a
    fine of not more than one hundred dollars ($100) when the overcharge
    is one dollar ($1) or less.

    (d) As used in subdivisions (b) and (c), “overcharge” means the
    amount by which the charge for a commodity exceeds a price that is
    advertised, posted, marked, displayed, or quoted to that consumer for
    that commodity at the time of sale.

    (e) Except as provided in subdivision (f), for purposes of this
    section, when more than one price for the same commodity is
    advertised, posted, marked, displayed, or quoted, the person offering
    the commodity for sale shall charge the lowest of those prices.

    (f) Pricing may be subject to a condition of sale, such as
    membership in a retailer-sponsored club, the purchase of a minimum
    quantity, or the purchase of multiples of the same item, provided
    that the condition is conspicuously posted in the same location as
    the price.

    This means that if you find a pricing error at your local store in California, they have to give it to you. If they don’t, they’re breaking the law. Additionally, there are other participating states where you have a good chance of being able to get it at that price, as well. Make sure you check the list of participating states to see if you one of the lucky states included in this!

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  • 63 good-looking people commented…

    Add your comment!
    1. 43
      Nina Mahmud says:

      Thank you so much! How does it work for apps? Walmart app always has a price difference. But managers never honor the price on the app. I live in Florida. Any help or guidance is greatly appreciated. TYIA

    2. 45
      caroline hildebrand says:


      Ok so i just spent several hours reasearching into NYS related laws and such. I can not find anything that covers the entire state. I have found regulations on item pricing per unit via the link in your blog. Other than that one out of the two links oertaining to new york were not working. So i went on a hunt of my own. I cant find anything that is actually helpful where i could print it out and bring it with me to stores for emergency guidance. Could you possible provide more specific information related to the states that actually have theses laws and regulations. It is not always as easy for us to find that information… even with the freedom of information laws in place.

    3. 49

      the PDF for Massachusetts is Michigan. Do you have the correct laws for MA?

    4. 51
      Donna Waddell says:

      Yes, this is true for Michigan. The scanner law here is if the purchase has gone through and the items that were purchased rang up at the wrong price, the customer is to notify the store within 30 days. Then the store is supposed to give you the difference plus up to 10 times the amount which equals from $1 to $5. If the store doesn’t give both, then the customer can sue the store. I have utilized this law a few times.

    5. 53

      (Except as provided in subdivision (f), for purposes of this
      section, when more than one price for the same commodity is
      advertised, posted, marked, displayed, or quoted, the person offering the commodity for sale shall charge the lowest of those prices.)
      ****This means they only have to honor the price difference if there is more than one marked for the wrong price. If u or someone else puts it in the wrong place or move the sign and only one is there they do not have to honor it!

    6. 55

      Thank you,so very much for this in formation , very much appreciated 🙂

    7. 57
      Danny lee says:

      Wow I was screwed over by the clerk when I tried to buy a purse that had the wrong price tag and the Cashier was making so much bo shit saying that somebody changed the price tag intentionally which was wasn’t possibles becasue there was no way you can rip off the tag and attach a new tag on . It had to be done on the a machine and not on hand , it was an employee faults and she didn’t even offer us a discount or even say sorry. Wtf I wished I saw this earlier.

    8. 59

      i am in Buffalo New York and at one time worked at a local grocery store. They recognized situations of overcharges with refunding the over charge and if the customer ASKS they also recieve a SUPER REFUND. the way that works is the overcharge amount AND then 10 times the amount you are overcharged (up to ten dollars) but only after thoroughly investigating whether the tag matches product purchased and whether sinage matches as well. If you buy more than one you only recieve the super refund on ONE. I looked on the link you provided but didnt really know where to find this refund policy. It is a weights and measure book that is used and i am almost certain that SUPER REFUND is a term the retail chain uses. If you have more information about this i would love to have it. These types of refunds are random but still great to get. Cahiers are trained to NOT make mention of the SUPER REFUND so that it wont officially be listed as errors in the scan department.

    9. 60

      So if my state says na. There no law for me ? I’m in Arkansas..

    10. 62

      Thanks for the information/link. In Pennsylvania, the document it pulls up is for PA Code for UPC Scanning Systems and PLU Devices, with certifications for PLU inspectors, not necessarily addressing pricing errors that I can see, or did I miss it, which is likely 🙂 We just moved here from SC where there was nothing, so I’d be glad if PA does have something. Thanks for direction you might can provide. I’m going to keep looking myself as well.

    11. Page 3 of 3«123

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