Can a Store Clerk Legally Stop You & Check Your Receipt in NY?
If you purchased the items in your cart are you required to stop and prove it or are you allowed to blow right past the store clerk who is demanding a receipt? Can they keep detain you until they see it?
According to Trading Economics, the inflation rate in America has been hovering at about 8.3% for months and our wallets have been feeling the effect. With the cost of items at stores going up and up, you may notice that some stores in the Hudson Valley are starting to take precautions to prevent losses. Some stores have security guards or store clerks stationed at the exits to inspect customer receipts.
When you're leaving the store with a shopping cart full of items and a store clerk asks to see it, what happens if you don't show it to them or you don't have it? Can they stop you from leaving or hold you? Is it technically false imprisonment? The question has been circulating online. They may ask to see it but if you don't show them I don't think that they can keep you there.
We asked local attorney, Alex Mainetti.
"So the primary law that applies to these types of wrongful detentions cases is called "False Imprisonment". Of course, you're not literally imprisoned, but you're detained by a person who has no lawful authority to detain you and/or wrongfully detains a customer. This most often happens in big box retail stores where security guards may suspect a customer stole items or is attempting to steal items from the store. In that scenario, if the security guard detains a customer wrongfully when they didn't actually steal anything or even attempt to then the owner of the store (ex. Walmart, Target, Sam's Club, etc.) would be vicariously liable for false imprisonment. The damages vary, what's it worth to be wrongfully detained against your will for (5 mins, 10 mins, 30 mins, hours?) The longer the wrongful detention usually the more money, but also if the person was caused to miss something important, such as a wedding, or funeral or surgery etc. the damages can be more significant." - Alex Mainetti, Mainetti & Mainetti