New York Consolidated Laws, Agriculture and Markets Law - AGM § 197-b. Retail pricing accuracy




1. Definitions.  a. “Retail store” shall mean a store that sells stock-keeping units directly to consumers and charges or is liable for the collection of sales tax.  For the purposes of this section the term “ retail store” shall include those stores that use universal product code (UPC) scanners or price-look-up (PLU) codes in checkout systems or use manual pricing of items.

b. “Pricing accuracy inspection” shall mean an inspection of a retail store for the purpose of ensuring that customers are charged the correct price for the items they purchase.

c. “Price charged” means the price a customer is charged for an item.  For prices determined by an automated checkout device, the price charged means the price on the receipt issued to the consumer after the final total has been determined, whether the item is scanned or actually purchased, the device is computing or recording while in training mode, or by using a hand-held device connected to a store's database.

d. “Stock-keeping unit” means each group of items offered for sale of the same brand, quantity of contents, retail price, and having different colors, flavors, or varieties.

e. “Retail price” means the lowest advertised, written, posted, or marked price of a stock-keeping unit.

f. “Overcharge” means a price charged that is higher than the retail price.

g. “Undercharge” means a price charged that is lower than the retail price.

h. “Large overcharge” means an error of twenty-five cents on any individual item up to two dollars and fifty cents and ten percent thereafter.

2. Pricing requirements.  A retail store shall:

a. Display the retail price of each stock-keeping unit offered for sale, either on each unit or on easy to read shelf tags, or signs, located directly above or below or immediately adjacent to every stock-keeping unit or group of stock-keeping units of the same brand, size and price.

b. Assure that the price charged after the final total has been determined is equivalent to the retail price.

c. If a UPC scanner system is used to determine the price charged, provide the appropriate inspection official access to the checkout system in use at such retail store to verify the price charged for items included in a pricing accuracy inspection.  Access shall be provided to the system either in normal operating mode, in training mode, or through a hand-held or other device tied to the store's database.

d. Post, in a conspicuous place, the refund policy of such retail store in the event of an overcharge.

3. Test procedures and accuracy requirements.  a. The commissioner shall, by regulation, adopt test procedures utilizing randomized sampling techniques.  Such procedures shall be consistent with the examination procedure for price verification developed by the national conference on weights and measures and published in the national institute of standards and technology handbook one hundred thirty.  For purposes of this section, pricing accuracy inspections shall, to the extent possible, be conducted at a time and in a manner that does not interrupt the normal flow of retail business at the retail store.

b. A retail store at least three hundred square feet in size shall be deemed in compliance if ninety-eight percent of the items in the sample selected are accurately priced.  For purposes of this section retail stores that are less than three thousand square feet and employ a manual pricing system shall be deemed in compliance if, effective June first, two thousand seven through May thirty-first, two thousand eight, at least ninety-six percent of the items in the sample selected are accurately priced and beginning on June first, two thousand eight at least ninety-eight percent of the items in the sample selected are accurately priced.

c. In addition to establishing a standard frequency of inspection consistent with the provisions of paragraph a of this subdivision, the commissioner or a weights and measures official may conduct inspections of individual items in response to consumer complaints or as a follow-up on items ordered to be corrected in a previous inspection.

4. Enforcement procedures.  a. The commissioner or a weights and measures official shall advise the operator of the retail store of any pricing error encountered in an inspection.  If the correction cannot be made immediately, then, the commissioner or a weights and measures official shall issue a stop removal order for items subject to overcharges and such stock-keeping units shall be removed from sale until correction is made.

b. Upon finding a violation of this section, the commissioner or the municipal director of weights and measures may impose civil penalties as prescribed in section thirty-nine of this chapter.  Such penalty shall not exceed three hundred dollars per violation for violations assessed during an initial inspection in a calendar year and shall not exceed six hundred dollars per violation for violations assessed in a second or subsequent inspection during a calendar year.  In determining the amount of any civil penalty imposed, the magnitude of the errors, corrective action taken by the retail store, history of such prior conduct, or other relevant information shall be considered.  Penalties may only be imposed for:

(1) Overcharges found in a sample selected using the procedures adopted pursuant to subdivision three of this section, when overcharges number more than two percent of the sample.  Each such overcharge may be considered a separate violation provided, however, that any overcharge for a single stock-keeping unit that includes more than one item in such unit shall count as a single violation and not as separate violations for each item in the stock-keeping unit.

(2) A large overcharge found on an individual item.

(3) An overcharge verified in response to a consumer complaint.

(4) Overcharges found on follow-up inspections of items ordered corrected.

(5) Failure to disclose the retail price of a stock-keeping unit pursuant to paragraph a of subdivision two of this section.

(6) Failure to conspicuously post a refund policy pursuant to paragraph d of subdivision two of this section.

5. Local pricing laws.  Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit a political subdivision of the state from continuing to implement and enforce any local pricing law or regulation in effect prior to the effective date of this section.  Where a political subdivision has a local pricing law in effect prior to the effective date of this section, the provisions of this section shall have no force and effect until such time as the political subdivision repeals its local pricing law.  Any political subdivision of the state not having any local pricing law or regulation in effect prior to the effective date of this section shall adopt and implement the pricing accuracy provisions set forth in this section or by regulations adopted pursuant to this section.





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