Your rights to refuse to show receipts at stores

If you didn’t know this already, here’s a little tidbit of information for you. You know how certain electronic stores (such as Circuit City or Best Buy or others) ask to see your receipt and items? If you don’t show it, they have no legal right to detain you unless they suspect you of shoplifting. Then the search can only be done by a police officer. Even a police officer has no right to ask for your driver’s license (this is news to me) if you’re not driving a vehicle.

When a police officer arrived, Righi refused to hand over his driver’s license and the officer arrested him. Righi maintained police had no right to ask for a driver’s license from a person not driving a car, a contention backed up later by legal experts.

I’m no legal expert, but that’s in accordance to those that have a better background in law than myself that have participated in the discussions on this topic. Exceptions to the rule? Wholesale clubs have membership rules that require the receipt check.
Go figure that. Of course, unless you’re a super “rights” freak and you have to fight the man all the time, it’s probably easier to get on with your life by flashing that little piece of white paper.

  • I’m not a legal expert, either, but feel a need to point out that so-called “stop and identify” laws vary from state to state in the US as well as internationally. So, before anyone wants to test the law, they should probably check to see what it is where they are.
    As for the “rights” freak part, you’ve seen the difference of opinion on other blogs where this has been discussed, including Michael Righi’s. In my mind, there are two issues. First, receipt checking is just bad customer relations, all in the name of so-called loss prevention. But the fact is, they aren’t really comparing your receipt with what you bought—how could they in 10 seconds or less? Besides, retail fraud, of which some say 80% is employee theft, accounts for only 1.86% of total revenues. Why punish 100% of your customers?
    The other piece to this is the “guilty-until-proven-innocent” mentality it represents. This is made worse by the just-comply-with-authority behavior it engenders. Millions of people take their shoes off at the airport because authority says so, all due to one alleged shoebomber. We now tolerate questionable wiretapping and library surveillance and a host of other erosions of our rights. We accept these all in the name of security. Truth is, not all of them are that effective and some aren’t really justified based on the facts.
    I’m not advocating we protest everything to “stand up to the man.” I do think, however, ineffectual policies that belittle us should not be tolerated. You don’t have to get arrested to express your dislike of receipt checking.
    BTW, like the name of your blog and the supporting quote is excellent!

  • I’m not a legal expert, either, but feel a need to point out that so-called “stop and identify” laws vary from state to state in the US as well as internationally. So, before anyone wants to test the law, they should probably check to see what it is where they are.
    As for the “rights” freak part, you’ve seen the difference of opinion on other blogs where this has been discussed, including Michael Righi’s. In my mind, there are two issues. First, receipt checking is just bad customer relations, all in the name of so-called loss prevention. But the fact is, they aren’t really comparing your receipt with what you bought—how could they in 10 seconds or less? Besides, retail fraud, of which some say 80% is employee theft, accounts for only 1.86% of total revenues. Why punish 100% of your customers?
    The other piece to this is the “guilty-until-proven-innocent” mentality it represents. This is made worse by the just-comply-with-authority behavior it engenders. Millions of people take their shoes off at the airport because authority says so, all due to one alleged shoebomber. We now tolerate questionable wiretapping and library surveillance and a host of other erosions of our rights. We accept these all in the name of security. Truth is, not all of them are that effective and some aren’t really justified based on the facts.
    I’m not advocating we protest everything to “stand up to the man.” I do think, however, ineffectual policies that belittle us should not be tolerated. You don’t have to get arrested to express your dislike of receipt checking.
    BTW, like the name of your blog and the supporting quote is excellent!

  • lol. Thanks for the compliment.
    As far as the bad customer relations part goes… truthfully, I think for myself it’s more of a “choose your battles” type of deal.
    If you have lots of time on your hands, I’d say go for it. But as a consumer that regularly buys high-priced gizmos and such, I couldn’t care less to flash my receipt and be on my merry way. The fact is, time is money and my time is more important doing other things .
    This said, it doesn’t mean that it’s right for the stores to pull this crap. You (the stores) are not the law, and you don’t have the right to go around accusing people of shoplifting without due cause (which is what the receipt check is for, regardless of what protocol calls for). The whole “check if the price is right” is total BS. Any consumer checks their receipt if they’re worried about that.
    You can probably tie this into everything else that’s stupid in the world that we have issues with, from those idiots that think GTA is the responsibility of vendors and not the parents, to the people that believe the politicians represent the people and not those that line their political campaign funds.
    Like I said above. Pick your battles. This is just one of those things that while it’s a definite annoyance, to me, it’s not worthy of the trouble or effort.
    But I’m glad to see there are those people that are willing to fight for it. *grin*

  • darkmoon

    lol. Thanks for the compliment.
    As far as the bad customer relations part goes… truthfully, I think for myself it’s more of a “choose your battles” type of deal.
    If you have lots of time on your hands, I’d say go for it. But as a consumer that regularly buys high-priced gizmos and such, I couldn’t care less to flash my receipt and be on my merry way. The fact is, time is money and my time is more important doing other things .
    This said, it doesn’t mean that it’s right for the stores to pull this crap. You (the stores) are not the law, and you don’t have the right to go around accusing people of shoplifting without due cause (which is what the receipt check is for, regardless of what protocol calls for). The whole “check if the price is right” is total BS. Any consumer checks their receipt if they’re worried about that.
    You can probably tie this into everything else that’s stupid in the world that we have issues with, from those idiots that think GTA is the responsibility of vendors and not the parents, to the people that believe the politicians represent the people and not those that line their political campaign funds.
    Like I said above. Pick your battles. This is just one of those things that while it’s a definite annoyance, to me, it’s not worthy of the trouble or effort.
    But I’m glad to see there are those people that are willing to fight for it. *grin*