In the last time, you have surely found videos of consumers leaving Walmart and being asked for the receipt on social networks. Given this, the question is clear: can Walmart ask for the receipt of the purchase?
To know the answer to this question in depth, it is necessary to investigate the company’s policy and consider specific federal legislation, such as the 4th Amendment. In this article, you will learn about this issue and if Walmart can search my bags, among other similar questions.
Should I or should I not show the receipt to Walmart employees?
Many users have complained about the practices of this company, as well as others such as Costco and Sam’s Club, of asking, in a somewhat arrogant manner, for the receipt/voucher of the purchase. Many situations have gone too far, and some have even gone to court. But why all the fuss about it?
The reality is that you are under no obligation to show the receipt to any of these companies. However, if you refuse to do so, the store will seek to prove by that very action that it is a possible theft.
In this situation, Walmart, for example, may call the police, and the user may be harmed. Even legal claims against the company have not been declared as responsible for what would be illegal detention.
Even though you are not obligated to show the receipt at Walmart or other retailers, there are 5 states in which you must heed the employee’s request. These are:
- New York
- Washington, D.C.
In all other states, you are not breaking any laws if you refuse. Consumers who have chosen to sue Walmart over this issue claim that it is discriminatory and against the 4th Amendment.
If I don’t turn in my receipt, can Walmart call the police?
In this situation, the answer will depend on whether or not they believe the person has indeed stolen a product or has been defrauded. However, Walmart employees often call the police, and neither of the above scenarios has occurred.
However, it is also a reality that some people take advantage of this fuzzy legality to steal and get away with it. For this reason, stores feel an obligation to ask for proof of purchase no matter what.
And a peculiarity that many do not see is that this issue affects (or could affect) users. In late December 2022, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon revealed to CNBC that some stores could close if shoplifting rates were not lowered. And retail companies, such as Target, could lose up to $1 billion this year.
Legal issues to consider
Walmart employees must understand that the laws are clear, as are consumers in the 5 states already mentioned. They cannot call the police to get you without probable cause.
However, those who have been caught shoplifting should:
- Show the receipt.
- Prove that they purchased the products/items.
- Have identification that verifies the purchase.
As for your rights as a consumer, you must also know them. Among them, it is worth mentioning that you can only be detained briefly until the police arrive. They must release you immediately if they recognize that they made a mistake. Also, they cannot use force to detain you:
- They cannot use force to detain you. If this is the case, you have the right to sue the company, as it is a clear civil violation.
- The company must present substantial evidence of the alleged theft, fraud, or swindling against you. Otherwise, they cannot hold you under the shopkeeper’s privilege law.
What if Walmart stops me for not showing the receipt?
Many people who are innocent and have been stopped for not showing a receipt do not know the cause of the issue. If this is your case, you must know how to proceed as long as you have done nothing wrong.
- Stay calm. Know your rights and wait for the police to arrive.
- Explain your side of the story to the authorities.
- If possible, document the situation. This is how these cases go viral and impact society about this concern.
- If they hassle you, be patient. Refrain from falling into provocations because the case could get complicated.
Remember, you are under no obligation to show the receipt to Walmart, Costco, or any other retail company.
Walmart’s policy on receipts
There are specific issues that every Walmart consumer should be aware of before making a purchase at any of their stores. Their policy is clear regarding receipts: they reserve the right to ask customers to show a ticket.
In addition, workers may perform random checks on shoppers to ask for the receipt. However, no Walmart employee may ask you for your receipt in the following scenarios:
- You have already left the store.
- Have not made a purchase.
- Have paid with cash, gift card, via PayPal, Cash App, etc.
- You are returning a product without a receipt.
- You are buying products that are not in the store.
What happens if I say no to show the receipt at Walmart?
The point is clear: no laws require you to show the receipt at Walmart. But, the employee can always use the Shopkeepers’ Privilege law against you if they think you are stealing.
Sometimes, if the worker has not been adequately trained, they may even arrest you for refusing to show the receipt. They even ban you from Walmart. They will take it as a symbol of non-cooperation and that you might be shoplifting. Again, at this point, if they believe there is cause, they can call the police.
Can Walmart check my bags?
No. Legally, Walmart cannot check your bags unless they have a concrete reason to suspect you of shoplifting. Likewise, they cannot forcibly require you to let them search your purchases if you refuse their request.
What is the Shopkeeper’s Privilege law?
It is legislation that protects retail companies or vendors from detaining anyone they deem suspicious of possible theft but for a short time.
So, can Walmart ask for my receipt?
Through this law, they are within their rights to do so as long as they are confident that the person has committed a crime. Otherwise, the rights of the consumer and every ordinary citizen must be respected.
- Breyer, Shawn. “Do You Have To Show Your Receipt At Walmart? (Laws You Need To Know) – The Hive Law.” The Hive Law, 23 Dec. 2022, https://www.thehivelaw.com/blog/do-you-have-to-show-your-receipt-at-walmart/.
- Peterson, Hayley. “Why Walmart and Costco Check Receipts, and You Should Comply.” Business Insider, Insider, 11 June 2024, https://www.businessinsider.com/why-walmart-costco-check-receipts-2023-6.