Receipt checking

I apologize if this has been discussed before (I did a search and didn’t find anything specific), but I was wondering if consumers have the right to refuse to show receipts to door checkers upon leaving the store. I understand that membership stores have in their contracts they can require you to present one upon request, but what about stores like Best Buy, Walmart, Frys… ? If it makes a difference, I live in California.

PS. Not really trying to get into a discussion of whether it’s right or wrong. Just the legal footing…

So, the scenario is, you’re walking out of a store with merchandise, and a store employee wants to see proof that you paid for the merchandise. Is that right?

I can’t imagine how you could refuse legally.

Yep, that’s the scenario. I understand why stores do it, but quite frankly, I am tired of them assuming I am a criminal until I prove otherwise and yes I understand that I can shop other places where they do not have this policy, but I was just wondering what legal footing I have if I POLITELY decline.

Especially if, as around here, they check everyone.

That’s because we cleverly hid them under the Keywords “checking”,“receipts” and “door”. :wink:

Yes, it’s been done to death. And the final upshot seems to be lots of anger, grudging acceptance that “membership” stores have every right to do this, and a LOT of arguing about whether Wal-Mart and Best Buy have the legal right to do this.

No, you may not see my receipt.
Man arrested in connection with ignoring “bag checker” at Circuit City
Wal-Mart security measures
I’ve made my purchase, now kindly fuck off. (Best Buy)
The receipt check
Any idea why they do this?

I’m pretty sure that in most states they can detain you for shoplifting if you refuse to show a receipt, no matter how politely you do it.

Call your Better Business Bureau.

Show your receipt lest ye be charged with shoplifting. Legal or not showing the receipt saves a lot of pain, strain, time and a possible arrest for shoplifting.

DAQ #799

I figured it had to have been but when I searched “receipt checking” nothing relevant came up on the first page. Should have done a little due diligence and looked a little harder. Thank you.

Of course you can decline; I always do. I just say “no, thank you” in my sweetest voice. The door check has nothing to do with whether you’ve paid for the item; it’s a way to check that the cashier charged you properly and to help cut down on returned-items fraud.

The transaction was concluded when the cashier assented to you taking the items off the counter. You are indeed an invitee on the store’s property, but they don’t get to set the terms by which you can leave the property. Could they require a $5 purchase of everyone who enters?

I’ve found great success in avoiding walmart checking my receipt by either

  1. talking on a cell phone while wearing sunglasses and looking/sounding very busy as you walk out the door.
  2. getting behind a large or loud (or both) family, avoiding eye contact, and just walking out the door. Pretend not to hear anything if they try to verbally detain you–they could be saying “hey sir/madam” to one of 20 people in the immediate vicinity.

They generally only have one person checking receipts and I’m not sticking around in another line after I’ve checked out. At an electronics store, this tactic may be less effective. But if you just keep walking, they can’t physically detain you. The door checker doesn’t have that authority. They’d have to call loss prevention (but they won’t IME), and by that time you’d be out of the parking lot.

You could just accept that the store has hired a fellow human being at minimum wage, whose job it is to check receipts.

You could be polite and considerate to this fellow human being and comply.

Or you could be a dick and march out muttering issues about legal rights and stuff.

I know which camp I’m in.

Agreed. I’m all for privacy rights and all but I honestly don’t see why people get their panties all in a bunch about this kind of thing. They’re not snapping on a rubber glove and asking you to bend over, they just want to look at your receipt for a moment.

All the times I’ve encountered this they really don’t even check anything; the guy just circles the total with a red pen and says “Have a nice day.”

A pointless exercise? Probably. But a personal violation worthy of extreme indignation and litigation? I think not.

Here’s Rick’s recent experience at WalMart: http://consumerist.com/2011/03/calm-man-successfully-buys-tv-and-denies-walmart-receipt-checkers.html

I’m in the third camp; the one that politely declines to have one’s receipt checked.

Rick’s an asshole.

So, setting aside any moral or ethical questions, the facts as I understand them are generally down to what are called “shopkeeper’s privilege” or the statutory replacement in your particular state.

This means that Wal-Mart or whomever does have certain rights above and beyond what a normal citizen might have to try and stop shoplifters. But they are fairly specific.

Not showing your receipt is your right. In fact, receipt-checking is, as mentioned, very little to do with shoplifting at all, but that is part of it.

A shopkeeper cannot, in general, keep you on their property. That would be… I don’t know, kidnapping, or false imprisonment or the like. But they have the right, if they have probable cause that you have stolen something, to detain you until the police are summoned, who will then make the decision to arrest you or let you go.

Not showing a receipt is not probably cause. Even setting off the store alarm is not, in general, probable cause. Probably cause would be more on the lines of, a store employee saw you remove the security tag from an item and walk out, or saw you stuff something in your bag and walk past the register.

Granted, exercising all of these rights may be more trouble than it is worth. Obvioiusly the fact that laws exist will not necessarily preempt anyone from doing anything to you, and your only remedy may be protracted litigation. Maybe just showing the damn receipt is your preference. But those, as I understand them, are the general standards.

Disclaimery: I am not by any stretch of the imagination a lawyer. Just an interested layperson with more money than sense. I am probably wrong about everything. Second, if you have signed an agreement with a store like Costco, you may have more obligation to show a receipt. Note that in this case, though, their remedy is limited to revoking your membership. They still cannot detain you without probable cause. Thirdly, your state may vary, and if you are outside the US, I really have even less of a clue. Shopkeeper’s privilege comes from the common law, so any common law countries PROBABLY have something at least similar, but I would have no idea.

This story was linked on Google News and I was going to start a thread on it. I simply don’t understand what the big deal is about having a receipt checked. This guy comes off as an inane prick.

There is something supremely absurd about people posting earnestly: “You’ll pry my receipt out of my cold, dead hands.” Talk about a need for some perspective.

The comments get particularly absurd (and hilarious) when they start making comparisons to the civil rights movement. Seriously, get over yourselves.

How can that be so, when they don’t even look at your receipt? They just swipe it with a little marker or highlighter, then send you on your way. I’ve never even once had someone actually read what was on the receipt.

For a minute there, I was afraid we were talking about SDMB’er Rick.