General Laws of Massachusetts - Chapter 98 Weights and Measures - Section 56D Examination and testing of automated retail checkout systems

Section 56D. (a) The director or the director’s inspectors and sealers and inspectors of weights and measures and their deputies shall, in every 24 month period, examine and test the operation of all automated retail checkout systems in all establishments with 3 or more cash registers. Upon complaint to such officials, those officials shall examine and test the operation of any automated retail checkout system to determine whether the price which an item is offered or advertised for sale, including any advertised special price offered to a customer with a store-issued discount or loyalty card, conforms to the unit or net prices displayed to the customer on the visual display and conforms to the price for which a purchaser is charged by the automated retail checkout system to determine whether the total price for items purchased is correctly represented, and may issue notices of violations of this section, under section 29A and this section; provided, however, that nothing in this section shall prohibit the director or the director’s inspectors and sealers and inspectors of weights and measures and their deputies from examining and testing any system at any time irrespective of the number of cash registers within the establishment.

(b) If such examination and test reveals that there is evidence of price misrepresentation or information misleading or deceptive to the purchaser of items, or that consumer price scanners, as defined in section 184B of chapter 94, do not meet the operational standards in this subsection, the owner, manager or the designee of the owner or manager of a retail establishment using such automated checkout system shall be punished for the first failed inspection by a civil fine of $200, for the second failed inspection by a civil fine of $500 and for any subsequent failed inspection, by a civil fine of $1,000; provided, however, that there shall be no punishment for any inoperable consumer price scanner that is deployed for reasons other than to obtain an exemption from any law or regulation of the commonwealth requiring the individual price-marking of items offered for sale or for any inoperable consumer price scanner for which a retailer is able to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the inspector that the retailer has communicated in writing with an authorized repair agent, prior to the examination and test, requesting that the inoperable electronic scanner be repaired. For purposes of this section, consumer price scanners shall be deemed fully operational if they operate in the following manner: (1) the consumer price scanner clearly and conspicuously identifies and displays the item by name or other distinguishing characteristics; and (2) the consumer price scanner displays the item’s correct price when the item is scanned and, in the case of a retail establishment that uses loyalty cards or otherwise maintains a dual pricing system, the scanner displays both the loyalty card price and the non-card price if they differ. Each consumer price scanner shall display contact information for the division of standards to report broken scanners. Consumer price scanners shall be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines, 28 CFR Part 36, Appendix A and the architectural access board regulations 521 CMR 1.00. Notwithstanding the method for determining the amount of civil fines under section 29A, a civil citation may be issued for $200 for each violation, up to a maximum of $2,500 per inspection. For purposes of this section each item which scans erroneously shall constitute a separate civil violation.

(c) The director shall promulgate and shall enforce regulations based on national industry standards and other criteria necessary to carry out this section.

(d) For the purposes of this section, an automated checkout system shall mean a cash register, computer, terminal, consumer price scanner or other device capable of interpreting the universal product code or any other code which is on an item offered for sale to consumers used to determine the price of the item being purchased, regardless of whether the code entry is accomplished manually or automatically by a machine.

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Last modified: September 11, 2015