Self-Checkouts, Theft and Loss Prevention
Self-checkouts are popping up everywhere lately, whether it is Walmart, Target, or Kroger it seems to be the way stores choose to operate these days. Also, let’s face it you have had zero training on using these things. Accidents happen. You accidentally do not scan an item, you thought you had already scanned the item, or you walk out with that case of soda underneath your basket that you forgot about. Then, suddenly you have security standing behind wanting to check your receipt. In most cases, you will be pleading your case to the loss prevention employee, but they will inevitably call the local sheriff or the city police then the next thing you know you are looking a court date. Scary, we know.
Most of these self-checkouts do have built in features to help prevent theft. But let’s face it not everything is fool proof. For example, you may have heard “place item in the bagging area” this is designed by the weight of the item and the scales in the bagging area to let you know that the item was scanned and bagged. However, some items do not weigh enough, or they are too big to fit in the bagging area. Also remember that most stores will have “the eye in the sky” and you are constantly being watched and recorded. But it will only watch you not ringing up that item accurately, these cameras do not record your intent (if this was an accident or not).
Self-checkouts are frustrating, and you have a lot going on! You have numerous items that you are scanning, your phone is ringing, your kids are crying and the people behind you are giving you the stink eye because you are not going fast enough. Now suddenly you scanned the wrong item or scanned an item twice thinking it was something else, didn’t scan an item or forgot that case of beer on the bottom of your cart. Any of these things could have happened, so how do you protect yourself?
One answer is to not use them. Most stores will still have a couple cashiers available to assist you. Our suggestion is to use them and besides using cashiers is a great way to support their employment, let them do all the work and have some conversation. After all, these stores aren’t paying you to ring up your own items.
What Do You Do If You Are Stopped By Loss Prevention?
If you are stopped by loss prevention the odds are they saw you on camera doing something that was questionable. They will take you to the back corner office and start asking you questions. The best thing you can do is say nothing, now is not the time to plead your case. Say nothing. You have a right to remain silent. The local police will get called and depending on the level of theft (price) you will most likely receive a citation and issued a court date. Then contact an attorney and see what your options are. Most states, like Ohio, have a diversion program for a first-time theft offender or you can litigate your case and take it to trial. Consult with your attorney to see what is best for you.
Are You or Someone You Know Facing Theft Charges?
If you are facing theft charges, you need to speak with an experienced theft defense attorney as soon as possible. The Law Offices of Steven R. Adams is recognized by Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers, The Best Lawyers in America, National Trial Lawyers Top 100, and is one of U.S. News' Best Law Firms. Please contact us online or call our Cincinnati office directly at 513-929-9333 to schedule your free consultation.