UPDATE: Michigan Grocers Association praises reforming Item Pricing Law

Scott Smith, Owner of Scott's General Store

February, 16, 2011

Lansing: The Michigan Grocers Association praised the Michigan House of Representatives Wednesday for putting an end to the antiquated Item Pricing Law.

For years, Michigan Grocers Association has led the drive to reform our state TMs Item Pricing Law because it means higher operating costs for Michigan retailers, says MGA President Linda M. Gobler. This punishes businesses for operating in our state and hurts consumers by driving up the cost of goods sold.

Gobler continues, The Item Pricing Law has caused Michigan grocers to miss out on pricing innovations that help shoppers because stores were forced to spend time and money on individually sticking a price tag on every item in the store. The Shopping Reform and Modernization Act will allow retailers to invest in better, cost-effective tools and technology " such as handheld price scanners for shoppers and shopping carts with built-in price scanners " that 49 other states use effectively.

The Shopping Reform and Modernization Act maintains the current Item Pricing Law penalties for when a retailer charges a price for an item that is more than the price displayed for the item.

The definition of displayed would no longer be limited to a price label affixed to each item. Instead, the bill requires that prices be displayed by any method that clearly and reasonably shows the price at the place where an item is located.

The bill is now before the Senate.

January 23, 2011

The governor wants to change the way Michiganders shop and the way businesses sell their merchandise.

NBC25 found out how the plan to repeal the state's item pricing law would impact some Mid-Michigan residents.

Individual price tags on items at retail stores could become a practice of the past.

Governor Snyder wants to repeal the state's item pricing law.

I think as long as the consumer can see the price somewhere, whether it TMs on the shelf, on the rack, or on the back of the bar code, I like the idea, said Columbiaville resident, Patricia Hansel.

The item pricing law began in the late 70's as a way to protect consumers from unreliable technology such as electronic scanners, but with today's technology some say the law is no longer necessary.

Instead of using individual price tags, a business could choose to use scanners, bar codes, or automated inventory systems.

The governor argues the move would save retailers more than two billion dollars every year in manpower and materials.

But, the owner of Scott TMs Bargain Barn Plaza in Columbiaville says he's more interested in the time it would save him.

Probably about five, six hours a week, and its all at one time, so it TMs like mass confusion for one day, said Scott Allen Smith, the Owner of Scott TMs Bargain Barn Plaza.

Smith says he'd use that time better serving customers and restocking shelves.

But critics of the repeal argue consumers TM rights would be violated because they won't be able to shop compare as easy.

I think the store and the consumer are an integral part of each other, they support each other, I don't think you can separate the two, said Hansel.

In the end, Smith says he supports eliminating individual price tags, but is concerned it will also eliminate jobs.

Massachusetts is the only other state that enforces an item pricing law, but that's only at grocery stores.

Do you think reforming this law will protect consumer rights?