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A Guide to Retail Pricing Laws and Regulations

U.S. Pricing Laws and Regulations by state

This guide is intended to provide the user with an overview of the laws and regulations each state has relating to pricing of commodities in the marketplace. The source of this material came from each state director of Weights and Measures. Weights and Measures is generally the enforcement agency of the state that is given the authority and power to ensure adherence to their pricing laws and regulations.

It is important to understand the pricing laws and regulations of any state in which you do business. Laws and regulations can vary by state, from no specific requirements to requirements that include items pricing, unit pricing or varying degrees of one or both.

The URL links U.S. Pricing Laws and Regulations by state listing contain retail pricing laws and regulations listed by state. State laws and regulations can change at any time. The laws and regulations provided are current as of the last update listed above. Please be sure to contact the state director of weights and measures for the states in which you do business for additional information.

Unit Pricing

Currently, nineteen (19) states and two (2) territories have unit pricing laws or regulations in force. Eleven (11) of these have mandatory unit pricing provisions. They are: Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont and the Virgin Islands. For further information and a listing of states who adopt unit pricing laws and regulations, you may visit NIST Handbook 130 - 2013, Uniformity of Laws and Regulations. The chart is located in Chapter II.

Item Pricing

In addition, 8 states require some level of mandatory item pricing (see note below). They are Arizona, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Mexico and New York. New York mandatory item pricing laws vary by county. Contact New York directly for a complete listing.

NOTE: The states listed above have exemptions to item pricing. Be sure to review the law or contact the state director for more detail.

Other Resources

For further information and listing of states and the various laws and regulations they adopt (weights and measures law, unit pricing, price verification), you may visit NIST Handbook 130 - 2013, Uniformity of Laws and Regulations. A state by state comparison is provided in Chapter II.

Chapter III, Uniform Laws describes the many uniform laws states adopt including Section 7, Requirements for Unit Pricing; Section 16, Misrepresentation of Pricing; Section 23 Civil Penalties; Section 24 Criminal Penalties; and many more.

It should also be noted that the Uniform Unit Pricing Regulation, found in Chapter IV, Section C, of Handbook 130 allows for either Metric or Inch Pound units to be used. This complements the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA), which requires packages to have both metric and inch pound net content labeling. The FPLA applies to products that are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. The decision to provide unit price information in metric or inch pound units rests with retailers, and will generally be based on consumer preference. The unit of measure chosen must be consistent across like items in the category. Uniform Unit Pricing Regulations apply only when stores voluntarily provide unit pricing information.

If you have corrections, comments or suggestions on this web page, contact David Sefcik at 301-975-4868.

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