- Amended by St.2016, c. 133, § 62
- Amended by St.2017, c. 110, § 11, effective November 3, 2017
The correct price of an item offered for sale by a food store or a food department shall be disclosed to consumers in a clear and conspicuous manner. A food store or food department may elect to disclose the correct price using either an individual item pricing system or a consumer price scanner system; provided, that the food store or food department has been granted permission by the division to use a consumer price scanner system. All prices represented to the consumer for the same item shall be consistent with each other and the correct price.
A food store or food department that implements an individual item pricing system shall affix the correct price on each unit in a clear and conspicuous manner by means of a sticker price; provided, that the food store or a food department attaches a correct display price shelf tag not less than 1 inch high for each separate SKU or separately-coded item. In the case of a food store or a food department that utilizes loyalty cards or otherwise maintains a dual pricing system, the non-card price shall be affixed to the item if it differs from the loyalty card price; provided, that a sign at the point of display shall include both the loyalty card price and the non-card price, so labeled if different, as well as either the amount of savings per unit or the per cent of savings.
A food store or food department that implements a consumer price scanner system shall have the code of an item affixed to each individual unit by means of a sticker, ticket, tag or other label that can be read by a consumer price scanner and automated checkout system to display the correct price. The item's code, unabbreviated description and correct price shall be disclosed in a clear and conspicuous manner by a correct display price shelf tag not less than 1 inch high. In the case of a food store or a food department that uses loyalty cards or otherwise maintains a dual pricing system, the sign at the point of display shall include both the loyalty card price and non-card price, so labeled if different, as well as either the amount of savings per unit or the percent of savings.
Upon a determination by the division that: (i) a clear and conspicuous sign disclosing the item's code, description and correct price is posted where these items are displayed; (ii) the cashier can readily discern the item's correct price; (iii) the food store or food department maintains an itemized list for all exempted items; and (iv) the list is available at each checkout and can be reviewed by a customer upon request, a food store or a food department may exempt the following classes of items from its individual item pricing system: (1) unpackaged: produce, meat, fish, poultry, delicatessen, bakery items and any other items that are unpackaged and offered from a bulk display; provided, however, that any such item weighed or wrapped to order by a food store or a food department but paid for at a place other than at the point of such weighing or wrapping shall have the correct price marked on the item; (2) gallons and half gallons of milk; (3) eggs; (4) cigarettes, cigars, tobacco and tobacco products; (5) individual items within a multi-item package, if the package is marked with the correct price; (6) cakes, gum, candy, chips, nuts and other snack foods, if offered for sale individually and located at the checkout area; (7) individual greeting cards, if marked with a price code readily understandable by the consumer; (8) individual containers of baby food of the same brand and price where vegetable or fruit is the predominant ingredient other than water, but not including juices; (9) soft drink bottles and cans; (10) frozen food products; (11) items sold by length, area, weight or volume that are unpackaged, including, without limitation, chain, rope, flooring, lumber, fabric, stone or soil; (12) items that are required to be retrieved for the consumer by store staff including, without limitation, large electronics or appliances, display or representative items or items displayed in a locked case or out of reach of consumers; (13) packaged self-service items that are small in size and are offered for sale located at the checkout area; (14) live animals; (15) items sold in a coin operated vending machine; and (16) not more than 60 additional items that are accessible to the consumer in a free standing or end-aisle display that has at least 50 units of the same item; provided, however, that unless the deputy director determines otherwise, individual items that differ only by color, flavor or scent shall be counted as the same item for the purpose of this clause if they are identical in all other aspects, including price, size and brand.
Food stores or food departments utilizing an individual item pricing system shall be allowed to exempt additional items, the exact number of which shall be based on the number of operable cash registers located at the main checkout location. Food stores or food departments with 1 operable cash register shall be allowed to exempt 20 additional items. Food stores or food departments with 2, 3 to 4 or 5 to 6 operable cash registers shall be allowed to exempt 50, 100 or 200 additional items, respectively. Food stores or food departments with 7 or more operable cash registers may exempt up to 400 additional items. In the case of a food department, the number of additional items that may be exempted under this subsection shall be reduced by 75 per cent. In no case shall the number of exemptions permitted by this exception exceed 4.5 per cent of the number of packaged grocery items carried by the seller.
All additional exemptions allowed under this subsection shall be granted provided that the food store or food department maintains an automated checkout system that has been determined to be at least 95 per cent accurate during a price accuracy inspection conducted by the division or a designee and maintains a dated, written price list of the items it has chosen to exempt. The price list shall include a clear description of each item and the code number understood by the seller's automated checkout system. Deletions may be made from the list at any time, but no additions, substitutions or changes may be made to the list except twice a year in January and July. The exemption permitted by this section shall not apply to any item not on that price list and shall not apply unless the price list has been established and is available upon request at the food store or food department to any consumer or any representative authorized by the deputy director. The list shall be maintained so that any item may be referenced easily by a consumer. No seller may choose to exempt items required to be price marked by other laws or regulations governing specific types of items, nor may a seller exempt more than 200 items in any 1 department except in the grocery department.
A food store or a food department utilizing a consumer price scanner system may exempt the following items from displaying the correct price at its consumer price scanners, provided it complies with clauses (i) to (iv), inclusive, in subsection (d): (1) unpackaged and uncoded items to which a price sticker cannot be reasonably affixed; and (2) loose produce with SKU numbers.
Items purchased at a food store or a food department shall appear on an itemized sales receipt that shall be provided to the consumer.
If the consumer purchases a sale item or qualifies for a discount, including discounts granted for presenting a loyalty card, the amount saved shall be reflected in the checkout price and printed on the consumer's itemized sales receipt.
Notwithstanding subsection (g) of section 184D, if there is a discrepancy between the advertised price, the sticker price, the scanner price or the display price and the checkout price on any grocery item, a food store or a food department shall charge a consumer the lowest price. If the checkout price or scanner price is not the lowest price or does not reflect any qualifying discount, the seller: (i) shall not charge the consumer for 1 unit of the grocery item, if the lowest price is $10 or less; (ii) shall charge the consumer the lowest price less $10 for 1 unit of the grocery item, if the lowest price is more than $10; and (iii) shall charge the consumer the lowest price for any additional units of the grocery item. For the purposes of this subsection and unless the deputy director determines otherwise, individual items that differ only by color, flavor or scent shall be counted as the same item if they are identical in all other aspects, including price, brand, and may only vary in random weight. This subsection shall not apply if: (1) there is evidence of willful tampering; or (2) the discrepancy is a gross error, in that the lowest price is less than half of the checkout price and the seller, in the previous 30 days, did not intend to sell the grocery item at the lowest price. The provisions of this subsection shall be clearly and conspicuously posted by all food stores or food departments which use a consumer price scanner system at each register. For each register that fails to display appropriate signage, the food store or food department shall be subject to a fine of $200, up to a maximum of $500 per inspection by the deputy director. All food stores or food departments shall maintain data on price discrepancies. This data shall be provided to the division upon request.
The deputy director may require sellers to disclose a consumer's rights under sections 184C to 184E, inclusive, by a writing provided by the division.
The division shall promulgate regulations for the administration and enforcement of sections 184B to 184E, inclusive. Failure to comply with any of the provisions of sections 184B to 184E, inclusive, may constitute a violation under chapter 93A.
|Last updated:||June 11, 2019|