I’ve used the Scanning Code of Practice Canada before (when a cashier kindly told me that I could have my bottle of nail polish for free because it was scanned wrong). It was years prior, I think when I was 23 at a Shoppers Drug Mart (oh to reminisce about youth!). It was great and I’ll never forget that free nail polish that I got. The Scanning Code of Practice is now called the Scanner Price Accuracy Code.
Table of Contents
Scanner Price Accuracy Code (Formerly SCOP)
What is the Scanning Code of Practice?
The Scanner Price Accuracy Code is managed by Canadian retailers, the Retail Council of Canada (RCC), Neighbourhood Pharmacy Association of Canada, and the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers.
It is accessible to the public, you can tell the cashier from specific Canadian stores about the Scanner Price Accuracy Code- this occurs when the advertised price is not reflected on the receipt when the cashier rings up your item or when the item’s price listed on the shelf is not reflected. It establishes a minimum of accountability by Canadian retailers to make sure their scanning system is updated.
Accountability and accurate price scanning is the Canadian retailer’s philosophy and intent.
If you’re interested in hearing about some Scanner Price Accuracy cases, here’s one. Recently, I had a not so pleasant experience at a No Frills (a franchise within the Loblaw’s family of companies).
I of course, used my Flipp app to check out what was on sale for the week like I usually do. I circled some New York Cheddar Kettle chips regular price was $2.97 and they were on sale for $2.47 (yes, my junk food fiend returns again, no wonder we can’t reasonably get our grocery spending down). The bags of chips were located in Aisle 5 and added to the cart. Then I head to the cash register and the cashier rings the two bags of New York Cheddar Kettle chips up at $2.97 each.
Surprised that they would ring up at the regular price when it was in the flyer, I told him that they were on sale in the flyer for $2.47.
He said, “Where, show me?”
Then I showed him the flyer. He then corrected the price manually on the register.
Then I meekly said, “Uh…. do I get this for free then since it was scanned incorrectly?”
He smiled at me as if I had two heads on my shoulder and said “no”.
Then I said “really? oh.. okay…”
[and I tepidly walk away then I go home to research the Scanning Code of Practice]
Here’s what I found.
What is the Scanning Code of Practice
How does the Scanning Code of Practice work?
The Scanning Code of Practice, or the Scanner Price Accuracy Code, was set forth by the Retail Council of Canada. The Scanning Code of Practice Ontario is the same as the Scanning Code of Practice BC. It is across Canada.
Here’s what it says.
On a claim being presented by the customer [yes, I did this], where the scanned price of a product at checkout is higher than the price displayed in the store or than advertised by the store [yes, this was the case], the lower price will be honoured [yes, the cashier honoured the lower price from the weekly flyer]; and
(a) if the correct price of the product is $10 or less [yes, it was less than $10], the retailer will give the product to the customer free of charge [DANNNNG this did not happen! I know it’s $2.49 only which is something I can probably scrounge up from my couch, but I feel a bit duped]; 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 correct price.
There is more fine print on the website. If I bought multiples (in this case, I bought TWO bags of New York Cheddar Kettle Chips– one of which I am munching on right now as I write this post), then you only get the money off the ONE item, but you get the second item at the reduced/ correct price.
So I bought two bags of New York Kettle Chips scanned at $2.79 when they should have been $2.49, I should have gotten $2.49 taken off my bill and then just paid $2.49 for the two bags of chips.
I know it seems petty to write a blog post on the amount of $2.49 but I did buy some cans of tuna as well that were marked in the flyer and were scanned incorrectly.
Also, it happens on a regular basis (maybe another 3 times, I can’t keep track) at No Frills and I never got a chance to look into this Scanning Code of Practice a bit more closely.
Scanner Price Accuracy Code Follow-Up
So I called and emailed No Frills customer service.
When I called the No Frills customer service representative said I was wrong and that I needed to wait until the bill was finalized before I could get the SCOP honoured.
Then they replied to my email (after I had called them after no response from email for about a week) and said that the SCOP should have been honoured and they gave me a $10 Loblaw’s gift card for my trouble (which was very nice of them).
To be safe, I also called the Retail Council of Canada to verify what the correct procedure should be (and to also file a complaint since when I called Loblaws they said the SCOP should not have been honoured).
What did the Retail Council of Canada say? They said that the SCOP should have been honoured at the time of purchase and they would follow up with the parent company, Loblaws.
There we go!
Yes, I got a free $10 for my time and follow up with the Retail Council of Canada but MOST importantly……..
I was right.
Retail Stores Participating in the Scanning Code of Practice
Do all stores in Canada participate in the Scanning Code of Practice?
The important thing to note is that not ALL Canadian stores participate in SCOP.
It is a voluntary program from the Canadian company.
Here are a list of the scanning code of practice participants in the Scanner Price Accuracy Code. Many big retailers that most Canadians shop at are participating though (such as London Drugs, Costco, Walmart, Canadian Tire, Safeway, Loblaws etc.). Not all retailers are part of this, but only specific scanner price accuracy voluntary code participating stores.
According to the Retail Council of Canada, these are the stores participating in the Scanner Price Accuracy Code. As a reminder, SCOP is voluntary for the Canadian store.
The Scanning Code of Practice list of stores is as follows:
- Shoppers Drug Mart
- The Groupe Jean Coutu (NB and ON only)
- Lawton Drug Stores
- London Drugs
- Lovell Drugs
- Pharmasave BC
- Costco Wholesale Canada Ltd.
- The Home Depot Canada
- Canadian Tire Corporation Ltd.
- Toys r Us
- WalMart Canada Corp.
- Giant Tiger Stores Ltd.
- The North West Company
- Best Buy
- 2 Home Hardware franchisees
- Canada Safeway Limited
- The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company of Canada Limited
- Loblaw Companies Limited (aka Real Canadian Superstore, No Frills, City Market etc.)
- Sobeys Inc.
- Metro Inc.
- Co-op Atlantic
- Thrifty Foods
- Overwaitea Food Group
- The Harry Watson Group
- Longos Brothers Fruit Markets
- Federated Co-operatives Limited
+ 1374 independent locations
Home Depot scanning code of practice, No Frills scanning code of practice, Canadian Tire scanning code of practice, Shoppers Drug mart scanning code of practice, and Walmart scanning code of practice all are participating stores.
One large chain company that is NOT part of the Scanning Code of Practice (except in the province of Quebec where all retailers are expected to participate) is Rexall. Rexall scanning code of practice does not exist.
What I Will Do Next Time SCOP Happens
The next time (because you know there WILL be a next time, it is just a matter of when) I will be more assertive and ask for the manager or supervisor if there is a discrepancy according to the Scanning Code of Practice. Sometimes there aren’t retailers with trained staff for the SCOP.
If the supervisor still says no, and I bring the issue up to the company (via their contact form), and if that still doesn’t work, I will file a complaint under the Scanner Price Accuracy Code.
The number to file a complaint with the Scanner Price Accuracy Code is: 1-866-499-4599
There you have it. Hopefully, this will empower you to know what to do next time they scan your item wrong (scanning it too high compared to advertised price).
Well, this is what I did THIS time, but I will definitely be more assertive the next time it happens and not meekly walk away.
In the meantime, check out this funny Reddit thread called “I hate the Scanning Code of Practice (Thanks Canada)” about the Scanning Code of Practice and a law student who has to deal with customers who are annoyingly quoting the code incorrectly and demanding free stuff.
The lesson from reading this Scanning Code of Practice Reddit thread?
Don’t be a jerk to your cashier or else your encounter may be forever immortalized on the Internet- those that know about the Scanning Code of Practice (more experienced cashiers etc.) would probably find you or me annoying.
Scanning code of Practice Canada Recap
Anyway, the real morale of the story is, make sure you remember the Scanning Code of Practice when you are grocery shopping in Canada to make sure the Canadian retailer doesn’t charge you more than you should.
I try to pay attention to what is being scanned when I go grocery shopping but sometimes that’s easier said than done when I grocery shop with kids.
Whether you’re on Ontario, BC, Alberta, NS, New Brunswick, Newfoundland etc. in Canada, you should remember the “SCOP” next time you’re at the checkout line and they ring up your purchase incorrectly. You never know when you’ll score a pint of free strawberries (like I did recently).
Scanning Code of Practice Alberta, Scanning Code of Practice Ontario, Scanning Code of Practice BC, they all participate.
In my opinion, it takes quite a bit of concentration to watch the cashier (like a hawk) scan your groceries and pay attention to the prices that are being scanned.
However, it is much less of a hassle to do that than to review your receipt after it is rung up and ask to have the item refunded (while the queue piles up for that cashier).
Additionally, it is even less of a hassle to contact the customer service department of your local Scanner Price Accuracy Voluntary Code participant list by email or phone!
Saving money is important especially in these inflationary times, so make sure you use the Scanner Price Accuracy Code next time the UPC codes seem to be rung up incorrectly to get your $10 maximum item.
You may be also interested in these posts:
- Caddle review
- Free apps that pay you to scan receipts in Canada
- How to save on groceries in Canada
- Is a Costco membership worth it?
- Apps like Too Good to Go Canada
- How to Maximize PC Optimum Points
Readers, did you know about the Scanner Price Accuracy Code?
If so, have you tried to use it?
Do you have any Scanning Code of Practice tips to share?
GYM is a 30 something millennial interested in achieving financial freedom through disciplined saving, dividend and ETF investing, and living a minimalist lifestyle. Before you go, check out my recommendations page of financial tools I use to save and invest money. Don’t forget to subscribe for blog updates, a free dividend yield spreadsheet, and the free Young Money Bootcamp eCourse.