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Why Do Shopping Receipts Need Checking?

Located in the city's west, Hualian supermarket serves hundreds of customers everyday and has a policy of checking shopping receipts. Some of the customers say they feel they are coming under suspicion when they have to wait to have their shopping receipts sealed. Ms. Wang is one of them.

"When I first came here, I was puzzled at seeing this, because I haven't experienced this before in other supermarkets. I don't think it's necessary, but since it's a requirement they have, I have to go along with it because I'm afraid there might be trouble if I need to change or return some goods."

Regarding the complaints, the supermarket manager says they are doing this for the sake of consumers, as they don't want customers to leave their goods behind. But she declined to comment further.

When a supermarket security guard was asked about it, though, he said checking the receipt is a must.

A lawyer disagrees. Xu Peiqiang from Chaifu Law Firm says customers are within their rights to refuse to have their receipts checked.

"What happens between the customers and the supermarket is a process that amounts to contracts for sale and purchase. But after the customer pays and leaves the cashier, the ownership of the goods is then already in the hands of the customer. Thus without his or her consent, no one has any right to check the receipt or the commodities. "

The lawyer stresses the Constitution entitles every citizen to freedom of person. If the supermarket infringes this right, it will be a serious problem.

He adds if the supermarket wants to guarantee the security of their goods, they should do so near the cashier. That is, when the customer has already selected their goods but hasn't yet paid.

(China Radio International December 3, 2001)

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