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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 73890
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I visited a Lidl 2 weeks ago, picked up some items and put

Customer Question

Hi, I visited a Lidl 2 weeks ago, picked up some items and put them back because the queue was too long and tried the next supermarket (Tesco) across the road. I was then followed into Tesco by a manager from Lidl who accused me of stealing from them (I am not a thief and the barriers did not go off when I left Lidl). I was left extremely embarrassed and distressed by the ordeal and now need to go back onto my antidepressants because of it. I have contacted the Lidl customer services several times to request if they have viewed the cctv and when I would be contacted back, they advised I would be called a week ago to receive my apology. They have not called me back and my emails are getting me nowhere. The only explanation for my being followed and accused of theft was because I was racially profiled as I am a young black female and obviously did not steal anything from them. I just cannot let this stand though, I was wanting to know if there is anything I can to legally regarding this matter?
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: It happened in Manchester
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: I called them the day of to lodge a complaint and was assured I would receive a call from them once the cctv was reviewed. I have since followed this up with 2 emails. 1 to advise them of exactly what happened and one to request an update.
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: No, I don’t think so
Submitted: 11 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 days ago.

Hello, I’m Ben. It’s my pleasure to assist you today. I may also ask for some preliminary information to help me determine the legal position.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 days ago.

What are you ideally hoping for so that I can best advise?

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Hi, to be honest, 2 weeks ago I would have accepted the phone call with my apology and an explanation as to why their manager thought this was okay. Now I just want to know if I can sue them or take them to small claims because they genuinely do not seem to care about how much this has effected me.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 days ago.

OK I understand and thank you for providing this information. Please do not worry and leave it with me for now; I will get back to you with my answer as soon as I can which will be at some point today. The system will notify you when this happens. Please do not reply in the meantime as this may unnecessarily delay my response. Many thanks.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 days ago.

Many thanks for your patience, I am pleased to be able to continue assisting with your query now. First of all, I am sorry to hear about the issues you have experienced in your situation.

I must admit that taking legal action here will be very unlikely to get you anywhere, especially as you cannot realistically prove that race was a factor in their decision to accuse you. In the end, if they had genuine grounds foe believing that you may have done something wrong, they can challenge you over it, even if you were actually innocent. An investigation into the allegations can quickly determine that you were innocent and that would be the end of the matter but it does not give you rights to sue them for the distress caused or the embarrassment from it.

The only realistic way to pursue this is directly with the store and hope that they admit their error and do something in return, like issue an apology or a goodwill gesture, like issue a voucher or similar. Legal action is not realistic and will just end up in further time, costs and stress, without the likelihood of getting anything out of it.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 days ago.

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand. If anything remains unclear, I will be more than happy to clarify it for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Thank you for looking into this for me, just to check, does this include defamation as she accused me of stealing in front of Tesco staff and customers? She also brought over and told Tesco security to keep an eye on me because I’d “stolen” from Lidl (she told me this when I went back into Lidl to demand my apology) and I was stopped leaving Tesco by their security as well. Apparently because a debit card was found in an isle and I was the only person in the isle which is untrue and I had all my cards on me. Either way I was being watched because of what she told them. Apparently 2 of her staff saw me put something in my bag, I let her search my bag and pockets in the middle of Tesco and obviously there was nothing there.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 days ago.

Defamation will cost upward of £15,000 to pursue in court. You must also consider whether the publisher of the statement can potentially defend the claim. For example, this can happen by proving the statement was true or an honest opinion which could have been made based on the available facts.

I appreciate it was an unpleasant experience but not all such matters are dealt with through the courts and this is a good example of one where legal action is not realistic

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Okay, thank you for your advice. I can guarantee that it wasn’t an honest opinion as my hand never went near my bag but I appreciate you looking into it for me.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 days ago.

You are most welcome and all the best