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UKSolicitorJA, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 8109
Experience:  English solicitor with over 12 years experience
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I was recently shopping at Cost-co (a warehouse shop) upon

Customer Question

I was recently shopping at Cost-co (a warehouse shop) upon exiting I could not provide a receipt for my purchases. I was told I could not leave the shop with my goods and that they would and could use physical force to keep me there. The staff member I was speaking to also stated that she didn't think I had stolen anything, it was just store policy not to let people leave without showing their receipt. On that basis I stayed in the foyer with my goods for nearly 30 minutes until a duplicate receipt was printed and I was allowed to leave. This was annoying, but not the end of the world. What bothers me the most is that I was told I 'couldn't' leave with my goods, and I was threatened with the use of physical force despite the fact that they didn't actually suspect me of theft. I don't believe this is legal. I don't want damages but I do want their practice to change. Can people bring law suits simply to get businesses to recognize and follow the law? Does trying to do that put me in a position of financial risk? Is there a better way to address this as I am not seeking financial compensation? Also, if I am mistaken about the legality of their actions would you please tell me.
Submitted: 21 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 21 days ago.


I am a solicitor.

I am sorry to hear this.

If they had used physical force on you, you could have pressed charges against them for assault.

However, this did not happen and I am glad the issue was resolved.

I would suggest that you complain to them about this incident, ask for a written apology and ask them to change their policy.

May I help further?

Customer: replied 21 days ago.
Thank you. I have already written to them. They have said that they do have a problem with theft and will not change their practice. So, I am at a loss. They are continuing to tell people they can not leave and make verbal threats of using physical measures. I'm struggling to believe that verbal threats are allowed. I am also not sure if the store employees actually do know they would not be legally allowed to act on these, which is worrisome. Is this behaviour of verbal threats in keeping with British law? If not how can I force this practice to stop? Thanks, Kate
Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 21 days ago.

You may get a solicitor to write to them and see if that makes them change their policy.

Verbal threats could amount to harassment and civil action may be taken to make them stop or pay damages.

You may complain further to their head office/CEO or file legal proceedings if you wish to.

All the best

Customer: replied 21 days ago.
Thank you.
Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 21 days ago.

You are welcome.