Legality of the reciept check on exit?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jeff D, Sep 24, 2001.

  1. Jeff D

    Jeff D Supporting Actor

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    I don't know if this subject has been addressed before, but the search was unavailable.
    I'm living in California, so this question is asked in regard to California. But I'd love to hear comments from other locations.
    Some stores such as BestBuy, Costco, Fry's etc want you to show your reciept for an item you just purchased as you walk out the store. This person who checks reciepts is sometimes no more than 2 feet from you as you made your purchase.
    Does anyone know the legal issues regarding stores checking reciepts on your exit? I think it could border on harassment. What can the employees do? Can the grab you? Tackle you? Hold you for police? I have no idea, but it seems like a silly practice.
    The item(s) I just paid for is my property. I don't feel the need to show anyone what I've bought. What if it's a personal item that could be embarassing to the customer? That has never happened to me, but I could imagine it happening.
    I think there should be better methods of eliminating theft. This method does nothing but inconvience your valued customer. I want stores to stop harassing me for patronizing them. I understand I can just walk away without buying anything, but sometimes items aren't available anywhere else.
     
  2. James D

    James D Second Unit

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    There was a long thread about this exact topic at dvdtalk not too long ago..If memory serves me right, the general feeling was that they could stop you very briefly. If they keep you longer than a brief check, then that is tantamount to accusing you of shoplifting. I'll try and find a link for the thread and post it later. It makes for an amusing read.
     
  3. Jeff D

    Jeff D Supporting Actor

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    Thanks James, I'd love to read it.
     
  4. brentl

    brentl Cinematographer

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    Unless it's at a busy time the guard should have line of sight with the tills so Stopping people would be called harrasment.
    On the other hand, if the store is busy, a brief RANDOM stop would do alot to deter theft
    LL cool B
     
  5. DaveBB

    DaveBB Supporting Actor

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    I think the main reason is that management is afraid of cashiers "underinging" customers who are actually their friends.
    A couple of years ago the Best Buy right by where I worked had to temporarily close because so many employees got fired after an internal investigation. Apparently the cashiers were skipping over a few items (getting 6 CDs but paying for 3) or putting in different SKUs for cheaper items: inputing a code for a boom box but having a 32" TV go out the door.
    Apparently the losses were in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and had so many people involved the police had to use 15-passenger vans to haul all the busted employees away. Not too long after reopening, the store closed permanently.
    So yes, the security person may see you ring out, but who is to say the cashier didn't just input the stock number for a boom box when you actually are getting a $2500 laptop computer?
     
  6. Jeff D

    Jeff D Supporting Actor

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    Dave, good case, but like I said before why should I be inconvienced because of the dishonest employees? There should be other ways of addressing this issue. Not to basically accuse thier honest customers.
    I think I'm going to call a few stores and inquire why they do it.
     
  7. DaveBB

    DaveBB Supporting Actor

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    I'm sure we can let them stop inconveniening us and not perform the ckecks. However; we'll pay more because of increased employee theft/shrinkage.
    IMHO I'll take having my purchase checked at the door instead of paying $1.00 for a CD or DVD.
     
  8. AdrianJ

    AdrianJ Supporting Actor

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  9. Jason Merrick

    Jason Merrick Supporting Actor

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  10. alan halvorson

    alan halvorson Cinematographer

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    I wonder how they would keep you there if you refused to stay.
    ------------------
    They're coming to take me away, ha-haaa!!
    They're coming to take me away, ho-ho, hee-hee, ha-haaa To the funny farm. Where life is beautiful all the time and I'll be happy to see those nice young men in their clean white coats and they're coming to take me away, ha-haaa!!!!!
    - Napoleon XIV
     
  11. KyleS

    KyleS Screenwriter

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    Legally they could not detain you only an officer could do that. Even a security guard at a company cannot force you to stay somewhere no matter what evidence they have on you. If they force you physically to stay they can be in for a very large lawsuit. IMO it is not a big deal for them to ask for my receipt and to even check my bag. Heck if it keeps down the cost of merchandise I am all for it [​IMG]
    KyleS
     
  12. Jason Merrick

    Jason Merrick Supporting Actor

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    Kyle, not sure but that may be a state-by-state thing. Citizens in California most certainly can make a private persons arrest and detain someone until arrival of the proper authorities. Store security personnel do just that, make a private person's arrest and generally handcuff you and detain you.
    Although, if they did this to someone who simply refused to stop for a receipt check, then I would have to think they'd be opening themselves up to a lawsuit.
    ------------------
    [​IMG]
     
  13. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    If they can't hold you, then isn't all of this self-defeating?
    If I knew Joe at Fry's, and he set me up with a 'good' deal, they wouldn't be getting anywhere if they suspected their cashiers of doing anything.
    A few months ago, DVD theft was a topic here too, and the employees state they cannot hold anybody. Wouldn't a citizen's arrest work? If anybody wouldn't show me a receipt I would have to be suspicous of them. At the least I'd get their picture and let them know that they are no longer wanted in my store.
    Glenn
     
  14. Gunnar Syren

    Gunnar Syren Stunt Coordinator

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    Jason,
    I'm no expert on US laws, but I've always been under the impression that a citizen's arrest could be made only if you actually observed someone committing a crime.
    Refusing to show the receipt is - afaik - not a crime, so a citizen's arrest would probably not be legal.
    Correct me if I'm wrong.
     
  15. DaveBB

    DaveBB Supporting Actor

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  16. Luke_Y

    Luke_Y Second Unit

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    OK I'll add my .02, When people start talking about laws and the legality of something on internet forums there is always allot of confusion and misinformation. The laws in every state are different but people from everywhere give their opinion. You often don't know how informed of an opinion that is as well. In a case like this it's not that big of a deal, but it distresses me when I see someone seeking legal advice on a forum. My advice on questions with criminal implications is to go find a police officer (who has ben on more than a year or two) who works in your state and ask him or her. Almost everyone knows an officer or knows someone who does. But.. don't go up and ask an officer you don't know from Adam, they'll be suspicious and think you are up to something (it's the nature of the beast). The reason I say ask an officer and not a lawyer is the simple fact that they are usually more versed in the day to day application of criminal law. A good officer will often have to educate prosecuting attorneys to the finer points of many laws (sad but true). *DISCLAIMER- If in fact you are already charged with something criminal go see a lawyer [​IMG]
    Soo.. In my state a store employee who has PROBABLE CAUSE to believe goods held for sale have been unlawfully taken CAN detain a suspected person on or off the premises. Now if that person had in fact stolen something and was misinformed as to the law and physically resisted or threatened the employee he would find him or herself charged with the significantly worse charge of felony robbery (possible 5-10 years) for a stupid CD or something.
    Jeff, I'm not ranting at you [​IMG] Just ranting. I know that you weren't exactly asking this because you aren't going to steal something, you just feel hassled as lots of us do. I was just pointing out the potential pitfalls to the misinformed about legal advice on web forums.
    In my state you could just tell the guy at the door to f$(k off and keep walking if you didn't steal anything. But it certainly wouldn't be worth it to get into an altercation possibly physically if the guy persisted. Remember if someone gets hurt lawsuits go both ways and after all It's just paper it will just lay there and let him write anything he wants on it. Your word against his - juries can be funny sometimes [​IMG]
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    Luke
    [Edited last by Luke_Y on September 28, 2001 at 08:02 PM]
     
  17. Jason Merrick

    Jason Merrick Supporting Actor

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    Gunnar,
    Read the 2nd paragraph in my 2nd post, I agree with you 100%. Store security can and do make citizens arrests to detain shoplifters, but they have to have uninterrupted "eyes-on" the suspect from the time they conceal the merchandise until the time they attempt to leave the store.
    I would really love for some over-zealous store security guard to try to detain me for something I didn't do... I could really use some help with my credit card debt! [​IMG]
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    [​IMG]
     

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