Price scanning

Electronic price scanners are used at the checkout in all major supermarkets, variety stores and hardware stores. 

You can also find them in smaller stores in the Northern Territory (NT).

Stores signed up to a code of practice

Some supermarkets are signed up to a voluntary code of practice that protects consumers where scanning systems are used.

In the NT, Woolworths is signed up to the code.

What the code means

Under the code, any price increases should be changed on the shelf labels first and then entered into the store’s computer system.

Any decrease in price should be entered into the computer system first, then the shelf price changed.

This system ensures items are always scanned at the cheaper price.

The code applies to all items sold by the trader, except all of the following:

  • liquor products
  • tobacco products
  • items which do not have a barcode
  • items where the shelf price is $50 or greater.

Errors in pricing

If an item scans at a higher price than is advertised on the shelf, under the code you are entitled to:

  • receive the item free of charge
  • receive the first item free of charge and the rest at the lower shelf price, if you have bought more than one.

If you discover the overcharge later you should take your receipt back to the store and speak to the manager.

If the trader is not signed up to the code, you should discuss the matter with the store manager.

Where a trader is found to be continually overcharging consumers at the checkout, NT Consumer Affairs may view this as misleading and deceptive. This is against the Australian Consumer Law.

Making a complaint

If you are not satisfied after discussing your issue with the store manager, you can contact either:

  • NT Consumer Affairs on 1800 019 319
  • or the Retail Council: Scanning Code Customer Service hotline on (02) 8823 3515.

Last updated: 11 June 2015

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