SCOP Canada stands for the scanner price accuracy code, and it is essential to learn how it can save you money while shopping. If you use self-scanning facilities in supermarkets or online, the scanning code dictates that if an item scans in at a price higher than the shelf price, you are entitled to receive it for free according to the Scanning Code of Practice Canada.

This does not apply when buying alcohol and a few other scenarios such as gasoline or when purchasing more than one identical item (such as multipacks).

You can save money on products by using the Scanning code of practice. This works best at Canadian retailers, where they have a policy of beating any competitor’s price, and it can be used at multiple stores for even more savings.

For example, if I bought four boxes of tea totalling $5 and scanned in at $15 (price on shelf mistakenly tagged wrong), I would receive four boxes for free.

The Scanners Code of Practice means that if something scans in at more than the price on the shelf, it is yours to keep without paying.

How to SCOP: Using the Scanners Code of Practice

Most stores in Canada have to abide by the Scanners Code of Practice by a voluntary code ( SEE list below). The code was created to prevent consumers from being cheated at a register if the item scanned price is higher than the store shelf.

If the scanning code of practice is in effect, your best bet for saving money with scanning price errors

You can get an item free if the thing is under $10.00, but if you purchase multiples of the same UPC (or universal product code), only the first item will apply, and the remainder will be at the corrected price.

Watch the cash register for pricing errors!

You might catch the error, and if you do, Politely tell them that it is scanned wrong and ask if they have Scop – Canadian Scanning Code of Practice. IF YOU feel that it was incorrect, the store billed you and would not give you the same refund, don’t hesitate to contact Canada’s Retail council.


How do I ask for SCOP?

It’s easy for cashiers to apply the code of practice scop when you spot pricing problems. You’re not taking money from the cashier’s pockets; they won’t be in trouble if you point out an alleged price difference.

Scanning Code of Practice sign

2022 Scanning Code of Practice Canada

Most Canadian retailers follow the Canadian Scanning Code of Practice. In Québec, it’s the law, and in other provinces, it’s voluntary. The code applies to all UPC, bar-coded goods or Price Look-Up (PLU) products sold in malls. When the item costs more than $10, the retailer will give you $10 off the correct price.

Not everyone is aware of SCOP, but you can save money if you learn about it.

SCOP rules are simple: If you purchase an item that scans for a higher price than the store shelf, you either get it for free or a discount.

The rules are simple, but there are some things you need to remember.

1) If an item scans in at the wrong price, all stores have to honour this error if SCOP applies. Stores do not usually get into trouble for making these mistakes.

2) The rules for SCOP apply to items bought in a single transaction. If you have four identical items that cost $4.99 each, but all different colours, the first item scans in at $9.99, then all four will be complimentary. You cannot use SCOP if you buy multiple copies of an identical item.

Example:

You purchase a bag of candy but are surprised to notice the price is $3.00 higher at the register. You confirm the store shelf has it listed at a lower price. The cashier must give you the item for free. If the bag of candy is worth more than $10, then the maximum you get is a $10 discount.

Example 2:

You buy five bags of candy, and all of them scan at a higher price than the store tag. You will only get the first bag of candy-free. SCOP does not apply to multiple items. But you will receive the rest of the various items at Shelf price.

Example 3:

You buy a bag of candy and a bag of pretzels. They both scan at a higher price at the register, but the store tags are lower. The store must give you both items for free.


How Stores Use SCOP

Stores use SCOP to their advantage. They do not have any motivation to warn customers that a particular item may scan in the wrong.

Many stores honour SCOP because they want to retain customer loyalty and build their reputation as a store that values its customers.

If a store has to honour an error, the item will be free or at the shelf price. The store saves money by not having to keep that loss. They do not have to refund your money, but they are required to give you the item for free or at a reduced price.

Scanning Code of Practice Canada | scanning code of practice canada

Important Note about Price Tags

Price tags that are on the products do not count. SCOP only applies to the stickers on store shelves. However, any product in the store qualifies.

For example, you bought a pack of gum at the store. There is no price tag on it. But there is one on the counter where the cashier rings out items. If that cash register has an older pricing system that can’t be updated in time to reflect new prices, then SCOP still applies to these products.

Another example is buying a pack of gum from the shelf, and the pricing sticker says $3.00. But when you get to the counter, another tag with a lower price appears on it. In this case, SCOP still applies because Shelf Price beats competitor’s advertised prices

Scenario:

You went grocery shopping and bought a loaf of bread. The store shelf lists it at $2. But when you get to the counter, another price tag indicates it is only $1. SCOP still applies because the store’s shelf price beats competitor’s advertised prices even if the product is not marked with a price tag in the store

Extra Tips

Some cashiers and stores do not make following the Scanners Code of Practice easy for shoppers. You may have to print out the rules and carry them with you. If a store that participates in the code does not honour it, you can call 1-866-499-4599 to complain. You will need to provide the registration number of the store in question.

shelf prices and scanning at cash register


Canadian Stores that SCOP: Scanners Code of Practice

Grocery Stores Retailers that volunteer for Scanners code

  • Co-op Atlantic
  • Costco Wholesale Canada
  • Federated Co-operatives Limited
  • Giant Tiger Stores
  • Sobeys
  • Thrifty Foods
  • Walmart Canada
  • The Groupe Jean Coutu (NB and ON only)
  • Loblaw Companies Limited
  • Longos Brothers Fruit Markets
  • Metro Inc.
  • Overwaitea Foods
  • PriceSmart Foods
  • Safeway
  • Save-On-Foods

Drug Stores

  • Lawton Drug Stores
  • London Drugs
  • Pharmasave (BC stores)
  • Shoppers Drug Mart
  • Lovell Drugs

Hardware Stores:

  • Canadian Tire
  • The Home Depot Canada
  • Home Hardware (2 Ontario stores)
  • Rona

Other Stores:

  • Best Buy
  • Bulkley Valley Wholesale
  • The North West Company
  • Toys” R” Us
  • Urban Fare

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