What's the Scoop with SCOP?

Is there anything more annoying then getting home after a grocery trip, and looking over your receipt to find you've been over charged for an item?

I have made it a habit to check my receipt before I leave the store and watch as each item is scanned to catch any mistakes.

Fortunately in Canada, we have also have SCOP to help us out. SCOP is followed by most stores in Canada.  SCOP stands for Scanning Code of Practice. Stores that follow SCOP will either have this sign posted on the outside or inside of the store.

Basically the rule of SCOP means that if an item scans higher at the till, then is posted on the shelf, you get the item for free- up to $10.

For example, let's say you buy bagels, which I did this morning. They said $3.99 on the shelf but scanned at $4.29. I pointed out the mistake to the cashier and she changed the price. I then reminded her of SCOP, which dictates that I get my bagels for free.

90% of the time, cashiers will not automatically give you the item for free. I have only had this voluntarily happen a couple of times.  You will need to remind the cashier that you get the item for free and in some cases they may have to call a manager to make this happen.

There are some instances where even the managers will pretend they have no idea what your talking about, and you need to remind them of the sticker on their front door. If the manager refuses to honour SCOP, when it is clear that the store clearly follows it, you can contact the Retail Council of Canada at 1-866-499-4599. 

When the item is over $10, you only get $10 off the item you are buying. For instance, I bought a blow dryer at London Drugs that was on sale for $24.99, regular price was $39.99. It scanned at the regular price and the cashier automatically took $10 off the sale price. This meant I paid $14.99 for the blowdryer.

You may wonder why stores would chose to follow this rule when it costs them money. Several years ago stores changed over to scanners, instead of cashiers having to ring in every item. Customers were distrustful of this new scanning technology.

Stores started using scanning code of practice as a way to keep their customers and alleviate any fears that they were being over charged by the new scanners.

Another interesting fact about scanning code of practice is that if you buy more then one kind of a certain item and both ring in at the wrong price - you get both items free. For example, I bought 2 bottles of Windex Touch Ups at Safeway. Both rang in at the wrong price. They were different scents, which meant I got both free. If I buy 4 of an item and they are all different flavours or scents and wrongly priced - I would get 1 of each flavour or scent for free.

Let's say you purchase an item from a clearance rack and it has a clearance sticker attached to it. If the item scans at the wrong price, SCOP DOES NOT APPLY. You do not get the item for free. SCOP only applies to items with a price tag on the shelf - whether it's regular or sale price.

So now you have 1 more reason to check your receipt and watch the screen when your shopping - you just never know what you'll get for free!

For more information on Scanning Code of Practice please go to: http://www.retailcouncil.org