OLR Bill Analysis

SB 71

AN ACT EXPANDING THE "ONE FREE ITEM" RETAIL SALES LAW.

SUMMARY:

By law, consumers are entitled to receive an item for free if a bar code scanner charges a price that is higher than the posted price. This bill expands the “one free item” law to include retail foods that must be weighed at purchase, including fruits and vegetables.

Under the bill, if such a commodity is offered for retail sale and its price at the point of sale is higher than the posted or advertised price, the consumer receives one item of the commodity for free, up to a $ 20 value. With respect to produce, it is unclear whether one free item refers to a single fruit or vegetable, or more depending on how they are sold. As under existing law, the retailer must post a conspicuous sign to inform consumers of this right.

The bill gives the consumer protection commissioner the same disciplinary powers as under the current electronic pricing law. It allows him, after providing notice and conducting a hearing, to issue violators a warning citation or impose a civil penalty of up to a $ 100 for a first offense and up to a $ 500 for any subsequent offense. Each violation with respect to all units of a particular commodity on any single day is deemed a single offense. But under the existing “one free item” law, violators are subject to an additional fine of up to $ 200 for a first offense and up to $ 1,000 for subsequent offenses.

The bill applies only to stores with a retail sales area of more than 10,000 square feet.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2012

COMMITTEE ACTION

General Law Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

17

Nay

1

(02/23/2012)