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Are New York shoppers legally required to stop for receipt checkers at store exits?

(FOX40.COM) — Retailers all over New York have employees placed at store exits to check receipts as a person leaves as proof of purchase for merchandise. But are shoppers legally required to stop?

Most notably, Walmart has asset protection associates, formerly known as door greeters, at every entrance and exit of its stores. While some people choose to wait in line to get their receipts verified before leaving the store, others will breeze by without stopping.

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According to Section 218 of the New York General Business Law,” shoppers may not have to stop at exits to have their receipts checked. The law states that an owner or employee of a retail establishment can detain a customer if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the plaintiff being detained committed a theft.

So, unless a store suspects that a person has committed a crime, they cannot legally force a person exiting a store to present a receipt.

What about Costco and Sam’s Club?

Retailers who offer memberships usually require a person to give consent to have their receipts and other personal property checked upon request. The Costco terms and conditions for membership status, “Costco reserves the right to inspect any container, backpack, briefcase, or other bag, upon entering or leaving the warehouse and to refuse entry to anyone at our discretion.”

In addition, Costco’s terms for membership state, “To ensure that all members are correctly charged for the merchandise purchased, all receipts and merchandise will be inspected as you leave the warehouse.”

“We do this to double-check that the items purchased have been correctly processed by our cashiers,” Costco said on its website. “It’s our most effective method of maintaining accuracy in inventory control, and it’s also a good way to ensure that our members have been charged properly for their purchases.”

Sam’s Club uses the near-exact same verbiage as Costco in their general membership policies:

For merchandise, “Sam’s Club reserves the right to inspect any container, backpack, briefcase or other bag of any person upon entering or leaving any Sam’s Club location and to refuse entry to anyone at our discretion.

For receipt-checking, the Sam’s Club policy reads, “To ensure that you are charged correctly for the merchandise you have selected, Sam’s Club may inspect or electronically scan your merchandise and electronic/phone or paper copy receipt(s) when you exit any Sam’s Club location.”

Not stopping to get a receipt or bag checked at Costco or Sam’s Club is not illegal, however, it would be a violation of the store’s policy and could result in membership being revoked.

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