[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Rensselaer as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Peddling and soliciting — See Ch. 136.
[Adopted 11-18-1998 by L.L. No. 1-1998]
This article recognizes that clear, accurate item pricing is a basic consumer right that is not protected under current state law. It is the intent of this legislation to ensure that consumer goods offered for sale in the City of Rensselaer are clearly, accurately and adequately marked as to their selling prices. Further, it is the intention of this body to provide for a waiver of the item pricing requirement for certain stores which maintain a very high degree of computer-assisted pricing accuracy and which provide certain other services to permit consumers to record and verify individually priced items. It is also the intention of this body to require clear and legible shelf labels.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- COMPUTER-ASSISTED CHECKOUT SYSTEM
- Any electronic device, computer system or machine which determines the selling price of a stockkeeping item by interpreting its universal product code, or by use of its price look-up function.
- An authorized City government official having jurisdiction to enforce the provisions of this section.
- ITEM PRICE
- A clearly readable tag, stamp or mark affixed to a stockkeeping item by an authorized person which sets forth, in Arabic numerals, the retail price.
- PRICE LOOKUP FUNCTION
- The capability of any checkout system to determine the retail price of a stockkeeping item by way of the manual entry into the system of a code number assigned to that particular unit by the retail store or by way of the checkout operator's consultation of a file maintained at the point of sale.
- PRICING ACCURACY INSPECTION
- An inspection of a retail store for purposes of determining that programmed computer prices are consistent with the retail price or item, shelf, sale or advertised price. A pricing accuracy inspection shall consist of not less than 100 nor more than 200 stockkeeping units, representing a cross section of all stockkeeping units offered for sale.
- RETAIL PRICE
- The lowest price of a stockkeeping item as determined by item, shelf, sale or advertised price of such stockkeeping item.
- RETAIL STORE
- A store selling stockkeeping units at retail. A store which is not open to the general public but is reserved for use by its members shall come within the provisions of this definition unless the members must pay a direct fee to the store to qualify for membership and the store is not required to collect sales tax on transactions with members. Pursuant to this section, a retail store shall not include any store which:
- A. Has as its only full-time employee the owner thereof or the parent or the spouse or the child of the owner or, in addition thereto, not more than two full-time employees;
- B. Had annual gross sales in a previous calendar year of less than $3,000,000, unless the retail store is part of a network of subsidiaries, affiliates or other member stores, under direct or indirect common control, which, as a group, had annual gross sales in the previous calendar year of $3,000,000 or more, exclusive of the sale of motor fuel; or
- C. Engages primarily in the sale of food for consumption on the premises or in a specialty trade which the Sealer of Weights and Measurers of the City of Rensselaer determines, by regulation, would be inappropriate for item pricing.
- SALE PRICE
- The price of a stockkeeping item offered for sale in good faith at a price below the price for which such stockkeeping items are usually sold in the store.
- SHELF PRICE
- The tag or sign placed by an authorized person at each point of display of a stockkeeping unit, which clearly sets forth the retail price of the stockkeeping items within the unit.
- STOCKKEEPING ITEM
- Each item of a stockkeeping unit offered for sale.
- STOCKKEEPING UNIT
- Each group of items offered for sale of the same brand name, quality of contents, retail price and variety within the following categories:
- A. Food, including all material, solid, liquid or mixed, whether simple or compound, used or intended for consumption by human beings or domestic animals normally kept as household pets, and all substances or ingredients to be added thereto for any purpose.
- B. Napkins, facial tissues, toilet tissues and any disposable wrapping or container for the storage, handling or serving of food.
- C. Detergents, soaps, other cleansing items and cleaning implements.
- D. Nonprescription drugs, feminine hygiene products and health and beauty aids.
- UNIVERSAL PRODUCT CODING
- Any system of coding which entails electronic pricing.
Every person, firm, partnership, corporation or association which sells, offers for sale or exposes for sale in a retail store a stockkeeping unit that bears a universal product code shall disclose to the consumer the item price of each stockkeeping item.
Certain items exempted. The following stockkeeping items need not be item priced as provided in Subsection A of this section, provided that a shelf price and a price look-up function are maintained for such stockkeeping items:
Snack foods, such as cakes, gum, candies, chips and nuts, offered for sale in single packages and weighing five ounces or less, and cigarettes and tobacco, frozen foods and publicly advertised items on sale for no longer than seven days.
Stockkeeping items which are under three cubic inches in size, weigh less than three ounces and are priced under $1.
Items sold through a vending machine.
Cardboard boxes of gelatin, pudding and pie filling (six ounces' maximum weight), glass jars of baby food (six ounces' maximum weight), white milk and eggs and canned cat food and tuna fish (six ounces' maximum weight).
No retail store shall charge a retail price for any exempt or nonexempt stockkeeping item which exceeds the lower of any item, shelf, sale or advertised price of such stockkeeping item. In the event that the programmed computer price exceeds the lowest price a store is permitted to charge for a stockkeeping unit, the store will be subject to a penalty as described in § 141-5E.
In a store with a laser-scanning or other assisted computer checkout system, the enforcing agent shall be permitted to compare the item, shelf sale or advertised price of any one stockkeeping item sold in the store with the programmed computer price.
Item pricing inspection procedures. For the purpose of determining a store's compliance with the requirements of § 141-3, when an inspection is made it shall be conducted with a sample of no less than 50 stockkeeping units.
Laser scanner accuracy inspection procedures. For any inspection under § 141-4, the store representative shall afford the inspector access to the test mode of the checkout system in use at the store or to a comparable function of said system and to the retail price information contained in a price lookup function.
Stop removal order. An inspector shall have the authority to issue a stop removal order with respect to any device, system or stockkeeping unit being used, handled or offered for sale in violation of § 141-3 or 141-4. Any such order shall be in writing and direct that the device, system or stockkeeping item, as the case may be, shall be removed from use or sale pending correction.
Penalties for item pricing violations. Any person who fails to mark any stockkeeping item in violation of § 141-3 shall be subject to the penalties of not less than $20 and not more than $50 per violation. For additional violations during a subsequent inspection in a twelve-month period, the above penalties shall be doubled. No penalties shall be imposed for a violation of § 141-3 if more than 95% of all the stockkeeping items inspected in each stockkeeping unit at an individual point of sale contain clearly readable item prices.
Penalties for scanner accuracy violations. For a violation of the provisions of § 141-4, a penalty in the amount of $50 per violation shall be imposed for the first 2% of the stockkeeping items compared rounded to the nearest whole number; $100 per violation for the next 2%; $200 per violation for the next 2%; and $300 for each additional violation. For additional violations during a subsequent inspection in a twelve-month period, the above penalties shall be doubled.
Jurisdiction. The provisions of this section and the regulations promulgated hereunder shall be enforced by the Sealer of Weights and Measures of the City of Rensselaer.
This article shall take effect immediately upon filing with the Secretary of State of the State of New York.
If the New York State Legislature enacts an item pricing law, it shall supersede this legislation in all respects, and this legislation shall be null and void when the state legislation takes effect.
In retail stores equipped with a computer-assisted checkout system, the Sealer of Weights and Measures of the City of Rensselaer shall have the authority to conduct pricing accuracy inspections. Retail stores with computer-assisted checkout systems which do not place price stickers on individual stockkeeping units shall be required to:
Display easy-to-read and properly located shelf tags or signs on every stockkeeping unit or group of stockkeeping units of the same brand, size and price. Each stockkeeping item's (SKI's) retail price shall be printed on a shelf label in characters no less than 3/4 of an inch in height. Shelf price labels on bottom shelves shall be tilted upward at an angle of between 30° and 60° from the floor. A retail store failing to comply with this section shall be subject to a penalty in the sum of not more than $300 in the first violation, not more than $600 for the second and each subsequent violation.
Achieve and maintain a pricing accuracy level of 98% from an inspection of not less than 100 stockkeeping units nor more than 200 stockkeeping units, which shall represent a cross section of all stockkeeping units offered for sale, to ascertain that the retail price is the same as the computer-assisted checkout price.
Designate and make available a price check scanner to enable consumers to confirm the price of a stockkeeping unit. This price check scanner shall be in a location convenient to customers, with a sign of sufficient-sized lettering, identifying this unit to the customers. Such waiver shall not be granted unless the location and size of the sign are approved. The store may utilize this scanner to meet unanticipated customer checkout needs. A retail store failing to comply with this section may be assessed a penalty not to exceed $300 per violation.
Notify the Sealer of Weights and Measures of the City of Rensselaer of the installation of scanning equipment. A retail store failing to comply with this section may be assessed a penalty not to exceed $300 per establishment.
Post a notice for the customer, in a conspicuous location, of the granting of a waiver from item pricing within this store by the Sealer of Weights and Measures of the City of Rensselaer, which shall state consumer rights under this article. Such sign, content, size and location are to be approved by the Sealer of Weights and Measures of the City of Rensselaer.
The Sealer of Weights and Measures of the City of Rensselaer shall also have the authority to respond to consumer complaints of overcharges. In the event that the programmed computer price exceeds the retail price, a penalty in the amount of $100 will be assessed. Inspections done in response to a consumer complaint shall not be considered as pricing accuracy inspections or result in greater penalties.
In the event that the programmed computer price exceeds the retail price, the retail store will correct the pricing before the inspector leaves the store.
The following penalties are established for pricing accuracy inspection violations, based on a sample of not less than 100 stockkeeping units nor more than 200 stockkeeping units. A violation exists when the programmed computer price exceeds the retail price.
If a retail store fails to achieve a pricing accuracy level of 95% on two consecutive pricing accuracy inspections, on a sample of not less than 100 stockkeeping units nor more than 200 stockkeeping units, a penalty in the amount of $2,000 will be assessed.
Waivers from item pricing.
Every retail store which uses a computer-assisted checkout system and which would otherwise be required to item price as provided in § 141-3 of this article may make application in writing to the Sealer of Weights and Measures of the City of Rensselaer for a waiver of said item pricing requirement. A separate application shall be required for each store. Each application shall be subject to a nonrefundable processing fee to cover the cost of conducting scanner accuracy inspections as provided in Subsection F(2). The processing fee shall be a minimum of $750, but in no event shall be less than the cost of conducting the two required scanner accuracy inspections as provided in Subsection F(4) of this section.
Upon receipt of an application and fee, the Sealer of Weights and Measures of the City of Rensselaer shall cause to be conducted two scanner accuracy inspections of the store for which the application has been submitted. These inspections shall be conducted on two separate days and in a manner prescribed by this section; however, a minimum of 100 store stockkeeping items (SKIs) shall be checked at each inspection. In the event that any violations are detected, a penalty shall be assessed as provided for in this article. If, considering both inspections together, the number of SKIs found to be in violation does not exceed 2% of all SKIs inspected, the Sealer of Weights and Measures of the City of Rensselaer shall grant to the applicant a one-year revocable waiver from the item pricing requirement.
A waiver from item pricing shall be valid for a period of one year from the date of issuance. Stores may reapply annually for renewal of waiver. The processing fee and two inspections shall be required for each annual renewal application, as are required for an original waiver application.
In the event that total violations in excess of 2% are discovered in the inspections provided for, the Sealer of Weights and Measures of the City of Rensselaer shall not grant a waiver to the applicant. Such store must promptly reapply for a waiver and pay the required fee to the Sealer of Weights and Measures of the City of Rensselaer within five business days after being notified of the failure. Stores which do not reapply must be in compliance with all the requirements of the item pricing law. If the applicant continues to maintain total violations in excess of 2% as determined by the scanner accuracy inspections pursuant to Subsection F(2) of this section, the applicant shall not be permitted to reapply for one year from either the commencement date of the temporary waiver or the scanner accuracy inspection test for the reapplication, whichever is longer.
In the event that the Sealer of Weights and Measures of the City of Rensselaer is unable to conduct inspections pursuant to this section within 30 days of receipt of a complete waiver application and processing fee, the Sealer of Weights and Measures of the City of Rensselaer shall grant a temporary waiver, pending completion of the inspections. The Sealer of Weights and Measures of the City of Rensselaer shall cause said inspections to be completed as soon as practicable. If upon completion, the inspections detect a violation rate of 2% or less, the Sealer of Weights and Measures of the City of Rensselaer shall issue a regular waiver with an expiration date of one year from the commencement date of the temporary waiver. If the inspections detect a violation rate in excess of 2%, the temporary waiver shall be immediately revoked and the provisions of this section shall apply.
In addition to the scanner accuracy inspections outlined in Subsection F(2) of this section, the Sealer of Weights and Measures of the City of Rensselaer shall conduct three additional scanner accuracy inspections during the twelve-month period for which the waiver is valid. In no event shall more than six months transpire between each scanner accuracy inspection as required by this subsection.
Super refund. Any person who suffers a loss because the price charged for a stockkeeping item by a store which has been granted a waiver from item pricing pursuant to § 141-7 of this article is greater than the least price of the item, shelf, sale or advertised price may seek special payment by notifying the store, in person or in writing, that the price charged is more than the item, sale, shelf or advertised price. The notice shall include evidence of the loss suffered by the customer. As soon as practical, and in any case within one hour after receipt of such notification and verification of the overcharge, the store shall tender to the consumer an amount equal to the difference between the price charged and the least of the item, sale, shelf or advertised price, plus an amount equal to 10 times that difference, but not less than $1 nor more than $10. If the loss is suffered by one customer within one transaction on two or more identical stockkeeping items, the amount to be tendered by the store shall be the difference on each item plus an amount equal to 10 times the difference on a single item, but not less than $1 nor more than $10.
The Sealer of Weights and Measures of the City of Rensselaer shall file with the City Clerk a report of the results of each inspection conducted. This report shall consist of the name of the retail store, the type of pricing for which compliance is being tested, the number of items selected, the number of items properly priced, the number of items improperly priced and the percent of items in noncompliance based upon the number of items in the sample.
This article shall be deemed to supersede any and all proper enactments of the City of Rensselaer with respect to the subject matter contained herein. Wherever any prior local law of the City of Rensselaer is found to be inconsistent or in conflict with the provisions contained herein, such prior local law shall be deemed hereby amended. This article shall be construed liberally so as to provide maximum protection to the consumers of the City of Rensselaer.
This article shall be deemed, pursuant to Subdivision 1 of § 22 of the Municipal Home Rule Law, to supersede County of Rensselaer Local Law No. 1 of the year 1993, entitled "A Local Law Providing for Clearly Displayed Pricing of Goods Offered for Sale in Rensselaer County," as enacted by the Legislature for the County of Rensselaer, State of New York, on January 27, 1993, effective February 1, 1993, in its entirety, and any and all prior enactments of the County of Rensselaer with respect to the subject matter contained herein. This article shall be deemed to supersede any and all proper enactments of the County of Rensselaer with respect to the subject matter contained herein.