Do I have to show my receipt to store personnel after I have made my purchase?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Do I have to show my receipt to store personnel after I have made my purchase?

They are greeters who continually ask us to show them our receipts when we are leaving the store after we have purchased our items. They say it is because we have items in our basket that are not in bags, such as case of beer, but the only reason it is not in a bag is because they don’t have bags big enough for it. There are no signs posted saying we must show our receipt nor is there a contract we sign saying we will do so.

Asked on April 24, 2017 under Business Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

There is an old saying: "discretion is the better part of valor." That is, sometimes doing the cautious thing is the right move.
You raise a fair point, in that in the absence of any notice about the authority of greeters or other staff to check your receipt against your purchases, a reasonable argument can be made that they lack the authority to do this since it was not consented to. (But only a reasonable argument--not a guaranteed winning one, since the counter argument is that you clearly aware of this policy; hence by continuing to shop at this store, you are in fact consenting to it.)
But consider what may happen if you refuse: they may take that refusal as evidence of shoplifting, etc. and call the police; the police can certainly require you to show them the receipt; even if you have done nothing wrong, you have no had to deal with a police stop--it is likely far better to simply acquiesce in them checking the receipt vs. purchases.

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