Change to item pricing law will help consumers save, make businesses more competitive

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 29, 2011

Contact: Sara Wurfel
(517) 335-6397
wurfels@michigan.gov  

LANSING, Mich. - Governor Rick Snyder today continued his quest to eliminate burdensome regulations that hurt consumers and act as barriers to competition by signing legislation that updates Michigan's 1970s-era item pricing law. With the change, retailers will no longer be required to place price tags on each individual item.

The governor called for legislation to modernize Michigan's outdated item pricing law in his State of the State address.

"This is a situation where we have to look at what we are doing and evaluate whether it still makes sense," Snyder said. "It's time we embrace technology that will make businesses more efficient and lower costs for consumers."

House Bill 4158, sponsored by state Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons, eliminates current requirements that force stores to individually mark the prices of most every item with price tags. Instead, stores will be able to use other forms of price marking, such as clearly displaying signs on shelves and making price scanners available to customers.

Key consumer protections will remain in place under the new law. Retailers will still have to reimburse customers plus pay a penalty of up to 10 times the difference for overcharges, up to a maximum penalty of $5 per incident. Retailers who knowingly violate the law face fines of $1,000 for the first offense and $5,000 for subsequent offenses.

The legislation also sets aside $100,000 to educate consumers about the upcoming change to Michigan's item pricing law.

Gov. Snyder said the change is long overdue, considering Michigan is one of only two states that still require stores to individually price non-food items. Even former Attorney General Frank Kelley, who for decades zealously defended the law as a necessary consumer protection, has publicly announced his support for repealing the outdated law.

House Bill 4158 is now Public Act 15 of 2011.

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