The Price Accuracy Policy has been around for over 20 years, yet

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The Price Accuracy Policy has been around for over 20 years, and yet

When a price does not match the one displayed on the shelves , the merchant must compensate the customer, according to the Price Accuracy Policy. However, even today, it can be difficult to assert this right. The grocery store tried the experiment in food stores that offered discounts on several products.

When a price does not correspond to that displayed on the shelves, the merchant must compensate the customer, according to the Price Accuracy Policy.

“It is amazing to see to what extent, even today, many consumers are unaware of the Price Accuracy Policy”, exclaims Caroline Séguin, of the Cooperative Association of&x27; home economics (ACEF) of Lanaudière.

“If I get home, look at my bill and realize that I was charged the wrong price, it's not too late to correct the situation “You should press charges, because you had to fight to get what you were entitled to!” “”What we often hear is: “It does not apply in our store!”, or: “There is a computer problem, it is not our fault!" These are kind of silly reasons, but people don't feel equipped to try to win their case “It's clear that the intention was to offer a discount! I don't understand why you had to fight for it” “Besides, studies done at the time on price accuracy had shown that most errors were to the detriment of the consumer” This policy is therefore a form of compensation and also an incentive for the merchant to check that there are no errors in his databases or in his optical readers and to compensate the consumer for pricing errors “Anyone who wants to be exempted from the unit price marking on each product in his store must respect obligations set by regulation” The older ones will remember that at the grocery store, there are had a price tag on every tin can » » » » »Caroline Séguin, who leads workshops on consumer rights, finds that only 50% of participants are aware of this policy. Among them, only 30% say they are equipped enough to defend their rights against a merchant.

According to this policy, if an item under $10 has a higher price at checkout than the price listed on the shelves, it must be returned to the consumer free of charge.

If the price of the item is more than $10, then the merchant must correct the price and give a discount of $10.

  • release this item free to the consumer if it is advertised at 10 $ or less;
  • sell the property for the listed price reduced by $10 if it is advertised for more than $10.
  • You are not entitled to this compensation if the error is in your favour, i.e. if the price recorded at the checkout is lower than the price indicated in store.
  • You buy identical items and the same price error is found on all these items? The merchant must correct each error, but this item's free or $10 discount applies to only one of the items.
  • Do you realize the pricing error after the fact? You can return to the merchant and seek compensation under the Price Accuracy Policy.

Source : Consumer Protection Office

, explains Charles Tanguay, of the Consumer Protection Office (OPC). Merchants being a little annoyed to have to indicate the prices on each of the articles, the Policy of accuracy of prices and the indication of prices has become an exception to the Consumer Protection Act. , says Charles Tanguay.

, says Mr. Tanguay.

, he adds.

Enforcing the Price Accuracy Policy can save a lot of dollars, but it still takes -he knows how to walk a laborious road to assert his rights.

The grocery storewanted to know what is really going on today. In 50% of the grocery stores visited, all brands combined, errors were noted not only in the prices displayed but also in the application of the Price Accuracy Policy.

Obtaining the mislabeled item for free or at a discount, as stipulated by the policy, very often took arguing, insisting and waiting. Up to thirty minutes of waiting were necessary at a place to assert this right. The application of the Price Accuracy Policy has been laborious.

Very often, the consumer gives up and does not assert his right.

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“When there are queues, you look like a bitch. We are afraid of being badly received, but I think we have to persist and insist. The important thing is that these rights are respected. »

— Charles Tanguay, Consumer Protection Office

By defending its rights, the team at L'épices obtained a total of nine articles for free or at a discount.

For example, a tub of vegan yogurt listed for $5 but sold for $6.99 at checkout should have been offered for free. , says Sylvie De Bellefeuille, lawyer at Option consommateurs.

The first jar was offered for free and the second should have been sold at a reduced price, according to the Price Accuracy Policy, explains Ms. De Bellefeuille. She complains that traders do not apply the regulations well.

“The problem is not so much the regulations as the enforcement. In principle, traders should be aware of this policy. They have the obligation to display it near the checkouts. It might be fun if they read it once in a while to reminisce. »

— Sylvie De Bellefeuille, Lawyer, Option consommateurs

According to this lawyer, fighting to win is also a matter of principle, because error is applies not only to our invoice, but also to the invoices of all subsequent customers.

Various reasons are often cited by merchants for not applying the Price Accuracy Policy. , says Caroline Séguin, of ACEF Lanaudière.

During our experience, a clerk even removed a label from a shelf while we were waiting at the checkout. We showed him the photo of his doings, but even caught red-handed, the employee denied. We then asked to speak to the manager of the grocery store. exclaims Charles Tanguay, of the Consumer Protection Office (OPC).

According to the OPC, the number of complaints about the Price Accuracy Policy has doubled since 2020. However, still very few people complain.

When it there is a complaint, there may be monitoring measures afterwards. It happens that the Consumer Protection Office has merchants condemned for refusing to apply the Price Accuracy Policy or for negligence in the indication of prices.

< p class="e-p">The problem with the Price Accuracy Policy is that there are several exemptions and it can be difficult for the consumer to navigate.

For example, products whose price is regulated, such as milk, are exempt. Fruits and vegetables without barcodes are exempt. In addition, if a discount expiration date is listed on the label and the specials period has expired, the policy does not apply. In one of the grocery stores visited, we saw a discount tag with an expiration date of one month.

According to Mr. Tanguay, it may be a error, but if it turns out that a merchant leaves old discount labels lying around his store, it could be seen as a deceptive practice. The Consumer Protection Office could take action against a merchant who makes this kind of error too often, specifies Charles Tanguay.

The Quebec Food Retailers Association expressed surprise at the results of our experiment.

“I can assure you that there is a concern to properly enforce this rule. There are significant potential fines, but equally, it's just that the app is expensive. The objective of an operator is really to correct at the source.

—Pierre-Alexandre Blouin, CEO of the Quebec Food Retailers Association

According to Pierre-Alexandre Blouin, the problem in applying the Price Accuracy Policy is also the shortage of labor and staff training. Grocers are dealing with a very high turnover of employees right now and with all the items offered in a grocery store, mistakes can creep in, says Blouin. He adds that it is true that this takes nothing away from the obligations of grocers and that it is their responsibility.

One solution would be to automate the price change process. However, an electronic display is difficult to implement because it is very expensive for grocers, according to Mr. Blouin.

In 50% of the grocery stores visited by “L'Epicerie”, all brands combined, errors were noted not only in terms of displayed prices, but also in the application of the Price Accuracy Policy.

20 years ago, it was established that $10 was a fair amount to compensate consumers. But today, with inflation and food prices, is this amount still sufficient?

Charles Tanguay, of the OPC, considers this suggestion to be interesting. According to him, we have been wondering for several years whether the policy as a whole should not be reviewed.

“It might be a good idea, actually, if it is deemed to increase the incentive for merchants to respect accuracy. There may also be grounds for abandoning the exception regime and simplifying the policy. But it's not short term. »

— Charles Tanguay, Consumer Protection Office

Watching your grocery bill is important. It can be hard to spot a mistake at checkout, but it's always possible to enforce the policy later by returning to the grocery store. , recalls Sylvie De Bellefeuille, lawyer at Option consommateurs.

For Caroline Séguin, of ACEF Lanaudière, the more we denounce, the more the situation is likely to be resolved one day. According to her, it's not normal that after 20 years, we still talk about this price accuracy policy!

  • use a scanner at checkout;< /li>
  • make optical readers available to customers if their business has an area of ​​more than 697 m2;
  • indicate the price and description of the item on a label affixed to the shelf opposite the item sold. The label must measure from 9.67 cm2 to 12.9 cm2, as provided by law;
  • if it is a food, the label must indicate the cost per unit of measure, for example per liter or per kilogram, and must include any characteristic that may influence its price or distinguish it from other foods of the same nature;
  • display the Price accuracy policy near each cash register and each optical reader. If his establishment has an area of ​​more than 697 m2, the merchant must also post the policy in a conspicuous place and in legible characters;
  • provide you with a detailed sales receipt indicating the name and number telephone number, description and price of the item and the date of the transaction.

Source: Office de la protection du consumer

The report by Andrée Langlois is broadcast at L'épices on Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 1 p.m. 30 at HERE TEL. Broadcast Saturday at 5:30 p.m. and Sunday at 4:30 p.m. on ICI RDI.

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