Connecticut Seal

Substitute Senate Bill No. 496

Public Act No. 06-66

AN ACT CONCERNING ITEM PRICING OF CONSUMER COMMODITIES.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 21a-79 of the 2006 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2006):

(a) For the purposes of this section (1) "consumer commodity" and "unit of a consumer commodity" have the same meaning as in section 21a-73, except that consumer commodity does not include alcoholic liquor, as defined in subdivision (3) of section 30-1, as amended, or a carbonated soft drink container; (2) "carbonated soft drink container" means an individual, separate, sealed glass, metal or plastic bottle, can, jar or carton containing a carbonated liquid soft drink sold separately or in packages of not more than twenty-four individual containers; (3) "universal product coding" means any system of coding that entails electronic pricing; (4) an electronic shelf labeling system is an electronic system that utilizes an electronic device attached to the shelf or at any other point of sale, immediately below or above the item, that conspicuously and clearly displays to the consumer the unit price and the price of the consumer commodity. Such electronic shelf labeling system reads the exact same data as the electronic cash register scanning system; and (5) an electronic pricing system is a system that utilizes the universal product coding bar code by means of a scanner in combination with the cash register to record and total a customer's purchases.

(b) (1) (A) Any person, firm, partnership, association or corporation that utilizes universal product coding in totaling a retail customer's purchases shall mark or cause to be marked each consumer commodity that bears a Universal Product Code with its retail price.

(B) Any person, firm, partnership, association or corporation that utilizes an electronic pricing system in totaling a retail consumer's purchases shall provide each consumer with an item-by-item digital display, plainly visible to the consumer as each universal pricing code is scanned, of the price of each consumer commodity or carbonated soft drink container, or both, selected for purchase by such consumer prior to accepting payment from such consumer for such commodity or container. The provisions of this subparagraph do not apply to any person, firm, partnership, association or corporation operating in a retail sales area of not more than ten thousand square feet.

(2) The provisions of subparagraph (A) of subdivision (1) of this subsection shall not apply if: (A) The Commissioner of Consumer Protection, by regulation, allows for the utilization of electronic shelf labeling systems; (B) a retailer is granted approval to utilize an electronic shelf labeling system by the commissioner; (C) the retailer has demonstrated to the satisfaction of the commissioner that such electronic shelf labeling system is supported by an electronic pricing system that utilizes universal product coding in totaling a retail customer's purchases; and (D) the retailer has received approval for such an electronic pricing system by the commissioner.

(3) The provisions of subparagraph (A) of subdivision (1) of this subsection shall not apply if: (A) The retailer has met the conditions of subdivision (2) of this subsection; and (B) the retailer has received permission by the commissioner to suspend implementation of the electronic pricing system for a period not to exceed thirty days in order to allow the retailer or an agent acting on behalf of the retailer to reset, remodel, repair or otherwise modify such system at the retail establishment.

(4) The provisions of subparagraph (A) of subdivision (1) of this subsection shall not apply if: (A) The retailer applies and is approved for an exemption by the Commissioner of Consumer Protection, (B) the retailer demonstrates to the satisfaction of the commissioner that the retailer has achieved price scanner accuracy of at least ninety-eight per cent, as determined by the latest version of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Handbook 130, "Examination Procedures for Price Verification, as adopted by The National Conference on Weights and Measures", (C) the retailer pays an application fee, to be used to offset annual inspection costs, of two hundred fifty dollars if the premises consists of less than twenty thousand square feet of retail space and five hundred dollars if the premises consists of twenty thousand square feet or more of retail space, (D) the retailer makes available a consumer price test scanner approved by the commissioner and located prominently in an easily accessible location for each twelve thousand square feet of retail floor space, or fraction thereof, and (E) price accuracy inspections resulting in less than ninety-eight per cent price scanner accuracy are reinspected without penalty and the retailer pays a two hundred dollar reinspection fee.

[(4)] (5) Notwithstanding any provision of this subsection, consumer commodities that are offered for sale and that are located on an end cap display within the retail sales area are not subject to [any requirement for the utilization of an electronic shelf labeling system] the requirements specified under this subsection, provided any information that would have been available to a consumer [with the use of an electronic shelf labeling system] pursuant to this section is clearly and conspicuously posted on or adjacent to such end cap. For purposes of this subdivision, "end cap display" means the location in the retail sales area that is at the immediate end of an aisle.

[(5)] (6) Consumer commodities that are advertised in a publicly-circulated printed form as being offered for sale at a reduced price for a minimum seven-day period need not be individually marked at such reduced retail price, provided such consumer commodities are individually marked with their regular retail price and a conspicuous sign is adjacent to such consumer commodities, which sign discloses: (A) The reduced retail price and its unit price; and (B) a statement that the item will be electronically priced at the reduced price by the cashier.

[(6)] (7) If a consumer commodity is offered for sale [at a reduced price, in accordance with subdivision (5) of this subsection] and its electronic price is higher than the [reduced price on the sign that is adjacent to the consumer commodity] posted price, then one item of such consumer commodity, up to a value of twenty dollars, shall be given to the consumer [upon demand] at no cost. A conspicuous sign shall adequately disclose to the consumer that in the event the electronic price is higher than the [reduced] posted retail price, one item of such consumer commodity shall be given to the customer [upon demand] at no cost.

(c) (1) The Commissioner of Consumer Protection may adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, concerning the marking of prices and use of universal product coding on each unit of a consumer commodity.

(2) The Commissioner of Consumer Protection may adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, designating not more than twelve consumer commodities that need not be marked in accordance with subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of this section and specifying the method of providing adequate disclosure to consumers to insure that the electronic pricing of the designated consumer commodities is accurate. The commissioner may establish by regulation methods to protect consumers against electronic pricing errors of such designated consumer commodities and to insure that the electronic prices of such designated consumer commodities are accurate. Among the methods that the commissioner may consider are conditions similar to those set forth in subdivision (5) of subsection (b) of this section.

(d) The Commissioner of Consumer Protection, after providing notice and conducting a hearing in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, may issue a warning citation or impose a civil penalty of not more than one hundred dollars for the first offense and not more than five hundred dollars for each subsequent offense on any person, firm, partnership, association or corporation that violates any provision of subsection (b) of this section or any regulation adopted pursuant to subsection (c) of this section. Any person, firm, partnership, association or corporation that violates any provision of subsection (b) of this section or any regulation adopted pursuant to subsection (c) of this section shall be fined not more than two hundred dollars for the first offense nor more than one thousand dollars for each subsequent offense. Each violation with respect to all units of a particular consumer commodity on any single day shall be deemed a single offense.

Approved May 19, 2006