If you are a shopper at Walmart or for that matter many other retail establishments, you may have noticed that there seem to be more receipt and shopping bag checks happening. At Walmart stores, this has become a routine occurrence in recent times, and it has sparked customer complaints, raising concerns about shoppers’ rights.
One Vaughan shopper took exception when asked to produce her receipt as it felt more like a demand rather than a request.
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) said it’s investigating the practice of retailers doing routine security checks at the exit, concerned that the way they’re conducted may jeopardize customers’ rights.
Michael Bryant, CCLA’s executive director and general counsel, said retailers should get consent before checking receipts or bags. And if no consent is provided, he said, customers are under no obligation to comply.
In a 2016 ruling on a case involving a suspected shoplifter, an Ontario Superior Court judge wrote that a retailer can detain a suspect if there are reasonable grounds, but — even then — it would have to get consent to do a search.
Walmart has refused to say if they have stepped up efforts to check receipts and bags, but in an email answer received by a media outlet it said: “To assist in our efforts to manage costs and offer everyday low prices, customers may be asked to show their receipts as they exit our store to ensure the checkout process went smoothly.”
Walmart’s recent addition of self-checkout machines appears to be a driving force behind receipt checks. In response to customer complaints on social media, the retailer has replied repeatedly that it’s doing the checks to ensure the self-checkout process “went smoothly” and that all items have been scanned.
Studies suggest that stores adding self-checkouts can experience more theft because thieves believe the risk of getting caught not scanning items is low.
However, Costco customers are required to sign up for a membership, which means they may have provided consent — depending on how clearly the rules are laid out. -CINEWS