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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70526
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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, A major store has refused to remove security tags left

Customer Question

Hi, A major store has refused to remove security tags left on after purchase. Items were purchased late Dec and tags only spotted early Feb.
After an extremely upsetting 25 min arguing with the store my wife & I left.I have since written to their head office requesting an apology and compensation for our treatment. 8 days later we have been totally ignored.
We would like to sue, do we have a case ?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 2 years ago.
Hello,

Why have they refused to remove the tags? Did you show them proof of purchase?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

We had not retained the receipt, items purchased over a month ago and tags only found when attempting to wear.

CC statement has since been received showing purchase.

Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 2 years ago.
Thank you.

I suspect that the store refused to remove the tags as you did not have proof of purchase and the assumption would have been that the items were stolen as the tags were still on them and you did not have proof of purchase.

As you have now received the CC statements showing that the items have been paid for, I would suggest that you go back to the store with the statements and the items and the store should now remove the tags.

If they still refuse to do so, then you will have a claim against the retailer, but as things stand now, you do not have a claim as the store needs evidence that you paid for the items and so far, it has not been shown proof of purchase.

May I help further?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Dear JA

My point is the store treated us as having stolen the goods despite the tags being left on being their mistake and their security not picking up the goods leaving the store. They have not answered our complaint letter and we have now incurred costs in excess of the purchase price of the goods in seeking legal advice. Please see the main 4 points below set out in our letter to them.

Your staff failed to remove the tags after purchase and your security failed to stop us at the exit when we had the receipt of purchase with us.
You failed to accept that the tags could have been your mistake and to remove them as requested on our return to your store.
You held protracted discussions on the shop floor in front of staff and customers leading to distress and embarrassment to both myself & my wife.
It took 25 minutes before a manager was called and she still refused to remove the tags without prolonging your inquisition further.

Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 2 years ago.
In the small claims court, each party pays for its own legal costs I am afraid. The store may offer you compensation and may be investigating the matter which is why they have not gotten back to you.

I would suggest that you send them a reminder that you are waiting for their response.

I would not advise you to make a court claim unless the store refuses to remove the tags after you have shown them proof of purchase, as the court will likely rule against you.

Hope this helps
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Hi.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Sorry for the delay and thanks for requesting me.
Can I be clear over what you are hoping to claim for? What specific loss?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
JA does not appear to be grasping the essence of the query. We have been Embarrassed in public, denied access to goods we have purchased and our written complaint has been ignored. We are ready to sue and are asking about the chances of success. JA appears to be states based it would perhaps be better to have a uk based expert who can assist in pursuing this.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Sorry about the delay.
What are you hoping to claim for? What specific loss?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Apologies for full letter below sent to store head office over a week ago but it may remove the need for repeated queries.

I write to lodge a formal complaint about the treatment that my wife and myself received at your Brent Cross store yesterday.

On Saturday evening my wife took from her wardrobe a dress purchased from the store to wear to an event we were attending. The dress could not be worn as it still had your security tag attached. On checking other items another garment purchased at the same time was found to also have a security tag attached.

On the following day, i.e yesterday, I returned to the store to have the tags removed. On presenting myself at your paypoint I was asked if I had the receipts, I replied that i had not as the items had been purchased some time before. A supervisor was called and I was asked how they had been paid for and confirmed it had been a credit card purchase. I was then asked if I had the card on which they were purchased and I replied that I was not sure which of my cards had been used and was asked for the last 4 digits of each card I believed may have been used. I gave the supervisor 3 card no’s and she called your security to check the purchase. I also phoned my wife who was shopping in the centre and asked her to bring a fourth card for checking which she did.

All of the above took place over a 25 minute period in front of other customers and the rest of your paypoint staff. This was highly upsetting and traumatic to be treated like a criminal in front of numerous members of your staff and customers. At the end of this time your staff still refused to remove the tags and the store manager was called. She said she would make some calls to try to resolve the issue. I declined this offer as I had already spent enough time being embarrassed in public. I requested to leave the store and asked for the manager to escort me out as I was concerned about the security tags triggering your alarms. My wife & I were then escorted from the store.

All of the above occurred because your staff failed to remove the security tags after purchase and your security failed to spot the alarms as we left the store. Had we been stopped at this time we had the receipts and the whole of the above would have been avoided.

We have since received the credit card statement showing the purchase from your store on the 28th Dec, copy attached. I have to wonder what would be the situation if we had paid cash. The tags would still be on the clothes and in the eyes of your staff we would be considered thieves.

My wife is now too distressed to return to the store even with the credit card statement to have the tags removed.

My complaint is that :-

Your staff failed to remove the tags after purchase and your security failed to stop us at the exit when we had the receipt of purchase with us.
You failed to accept that the tags could have been your mistake and to remove them as requested on our return to your store.
You held protracted discussions on the shop floor in front of staff and customers leading to distress and embarrassment to both myself & my wife.
It took 25 minutes before a manager was called and she still refused to remove the tags without prolonging your inquisition further.

This has been a disgusting way to treat your customers and we require a formal apology and compensation for the distress your failures have given us.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Thanks. That is all I need to know.
I am really sorry but there is no claim in law. You do not get compensation for distress in the UK save for very limited exceptions. You have to show specific loss. We do not award punitive damages in the Uk.
You can complain. They may well offer something in the interests of good business.
If you went to court then you would lose and have to pay their costs because the argument has no basis in law.
I'm very sorry but that is your position.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70526
Experience: Over 5 years in practice
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 2 years ago.
Hello,

I am a UK solicitor and my answers were based on UK law. Please let me know if you found my answers useful, or my colleague's?