Posted in: Odd News

Cop at Best Buy threatens to arrest man for refusing voluntary receipt check

best-buy receipt check

In all the brouhaha over TSA searches, people haven’t talked much about another unreasonable search many Americans are subject to daily- the big box retailer receipt check.

Receipt checking shouldn’t really be an issue- you purchase an item, and it belongs to you. No corporate entity has the right to detain you without cause for refusing to queue a second time to leave their store. But most people, not wishing to risk confrontation, wearily line their cart behind everyone else to prove that yes, they did in fact pay in full for their tampons, 6-pack of socks and razors. Unless you are a member of a discount club (such as Costco), no such restrictions can legally be imposed upon you.

So what happens if you refuse the entirely voluntary receipt gestapo as you leave the store? One Best Buy shopper found out when he was chased to his car by a police officer who was apparently stationed at Best Buy in order to protect and serve their corporate profits. A man only identified as “Mark” writes to Consumerist:

After I exited the store and was in the parking lot, walking towards my car, I heard someone start yelling, in a stern and urgent voice “SIR! SIR!” I heard quick footsteps behind me and turned around. It was a (sheriff’s deputy). He told me that Best Buy employees needed to see my receipt. I responded that I’d left the store, my business with them was concluded, and that they had no right to demand to see my receipt. The officer said that it was store policy. Regardless of store policy, I said, they still had no right to take or search my possessions. He asked me why I was being difficult. I pointed out that it was an imposition upon me to be chased down and detained in the parking lot and made to hand my property over to a third party, something which they had no authority to demand. The officer said that while they didn’t have the authority, *he* did have the authority. He continued, threatening me with arrest, “Go back and show them the receipt, or go to jail. Those are your options.”

Eep. The officer didn’t seem unaware of Mark’s fourth amendment rights, as Mark explained- merely uninterested in them. Mark continues:

I asked him why he didn’t just take the receipt from me, if they had the right to see the receipt. “I’m not going to touch your property,” he replied. I told him that I ultimately didn’t care about the receipt itself — it wasn’t important to me — but that I objected to their demand that they detain me and inspect it. The officer suggested that he take the receipt back to them so that they could “mark it.” I didn’t resist (I was there with my wife and infant son — I would have been in the dog house if I got arrested), so he took the receipt out of my hand, and walked back across the parking lot to the store. He returned a minute later, and silently handed me the receipt. I asked for his card. He turned around and walked away, replying “I don’t have to give you my card” while walking away.

Frustratingly, the officer in question didn’t even check Mark’s items against the receipt when Mark ultimately relented. He simply confiscated the receipt and marked it. Consumerist also points out that these receipt checks are entirely voluntary, and no one has the right to rifle through your possessions or detain you without your consent.

Do you submit to receipt checks just to avoid trouble? Do you find them to be intrusive and unwarranted?

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9 Responses to “Cop at Best Buy threatens to arrest man for refusing voluntary receipt check”

  1. Robert Schroeder

    Recently while leaving a local Best Buy, the Receipt Nazi asked for my receipt. I told him it was in the bag and declined a search. He raised his voice and said "Do you have a problem with me?" I told him that I had a problem with him not knowing what the 4th Amendment is. He immediately stepped out of my way and let me pass. Guess he's heard of the 4th Amendment after all!

  2. Mileah Orr Lyon

    I have often thought about this, but turn over my receipt to avoid trouble………The scary part of this is how our Rights are being violated, on a repeated basis! I fear our Democracy and Capitalistic society will be brought down in my life time……..almost hard to fathom!

  3. William Owen

    I disagree… a store has the right to insure that whats in your bag is what you bought. retail theft cost BILLIONS of dollars per year.

  4. Uriel Diaz

    receipt checks are required to ensure payment. they are to ensure the proper item was given to the customer (aka tv model numbers can be off by 1 digit and be a price difference of hundreds of dollars) or that the item isn't being stolen (either direct theft, or deceptive theft by walking out with a reprinted or training receipt for said item and not paying for it).

  5. Corinth Maxwell

    Just do the same thing that the people shopping at Fry's Electronics do when they run into these kinds of people…simply walk right out of the store. You're not legally obligated to show anyone a damn thing — especially not if they just saw you standing AT the checkout aisle/register. If you walk out with your purchases & the anti-theft alarm doesn't go off, then no one has any business saying jack **** to you. >_>

  6. David Griffin

    It is a voluntary request if you do not want to show your receipt you should not have to , it's your right . If they actually thought you stole something than they can call police and have you arrested. If not they need to just leave ya alone…..

  7. Tom Musto

    I find receipt checks to be annoying. They do this at BestBuy and at Home Depot. The security guard sees me at the register paying for my purchases and checking out and Still have to show them my receipt so they can mark it. Its moronic and takes up my time. I'm going to refuse it the next time and see what happens.

  8. Dennis Schmidt

    a prime example of the reason best buy is dying, I've not been there in years, and will only go back…when their stores are liquidated, to get some good buys on used office fixtures,..there is no saving them, its sad realy.

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