back to article Consumer campaign to keep receiving printed till receipts looks like a good move – on paper

"Our research shows that most people do not want digital receipts. Consumers prefer and trust paper and there is the very real worry about data security that needs to be considered." Such is the opinion of Greg Selfe, campaign manager for new consumer rights group Choose Paper. Its aim is to stop high street shops and online …

  1. Thoguht Silver badge

    I'd be all for paper receipts if you could recycle the damn things once they'd outlived their useful purpose. As it is, though, most of them are direct thermal and many of those can't be recycled safely.

    1. Captain Hogwash
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: can't be recycled safely.

      Safely? What's the danger?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: can't be recycled safely.

        I've been recycling receipts for years without any issues. It seems quite common where I live.

      2. Aleph0

        Re: can't be recycled safely.

        Apparently 92% of thermal paper contains Bisphenol-A (BPA), that is a quite nasty chemical and can leach into water sources. Paper recycling involves quite a lot of water, and who knows how it is disposed of...

    2. Mage Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Evil Thermal

      Also SOGA and similar.

      a) Hard to ensure a digital receipt survives for two years

      b) The thermal ones fade too quick.

      There though RFID tags. In theory a way to prove purchase at exit (security guy would have a scanner) and for return to any store in company for returns/repair/replace. Problem is privacy / Google.

      1. Tom Chiverton 1

        Re: Evil Thermal

        "a) Hard to ensure a digital receipt survives for two years"

        This is an IT rag. We don't lose digital things around these parts.

        1. ThadiasVonBasterd

          Re: Evil Thermal

          Not just I.T people use receipts. Think.

        2. eldakka Silver badge

          Re: Evil Thermal

          > This is an IT rag. We don't lose digital things around these parts.

          Unless you decide to put it in the cloud, which usually has one of two results:

          1) you lose it when the cloud has an outage/don't pay your bill/you assume 'cloud' means multiple backup copies when that isn't included in the cloud package you have taken; or

          2) everyone has a copy of it.

      2. eldakka Silver badge

        Re: Evil Thermal

        > There though RFID tags. In theory a way to prove purchase at exit (security guy would have a scanner)

        Or do what I do when they ask to look in my bag or see my receipt, say "no" and keep walking. Nothing they can do about it. If they physically lay hands on you and, say, try to detain you, then sue them for wrongful inprisonment and assault when they fail to be able to prove in court that you are stealing anything.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Evil Thermal

          "do what I do when they ask to look in my bag or see my receipt, say "no" and keep walking"

          Yes, I've been doing this for years (when I can't avoid going to a store that has this sort of policy). This has never caused a problem, except once when a guy wanted to press the issue. I just ignored his protests and kept on walking.

      3. Gerhard Mack

        Re: Evil Thermal

        "b) The thermal ones fade too quick."

        Exactly this. I have thermal receipts I keep in my lockbox for warranty purposes that are unreadable after just a few months.

        1. Swiss Anton

          Re: Evil Thermal

          I had to use an old thermal receipt that had faded to nothing more than some vague unreadable pinkish marks. Then I had a brainwave, I photographed the receipt and enhanced the image's contrast. Hey presto, the text was readable.

  2. Chris G Silver badge

    Amazing technology

    With my drawer full of receipts, I can access them at any time simply by opening the drawer, there is no boot up time then accessing the relevant program. If I need to go back to a retailer for any aspect of customer service I can put the receipt in my pocket and show it immediately, plus in the event of needing it in a SHTF and it's dark situation, all I need is a candle.

    A further thought before leaving a shop after a purchase, if I had no choice but digital, I wouldn't leave the counter to until I had received the digiceipt.

    1. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Amazing technology

      "If I need to go back to a retailer for any aspect of customer service I can put the receipt in my pocket and show it immediately"

      Except with so many receipts, the crappy printing process / ink / paper they use means the text fades after a few months. Even if it's for a product under warranty for years.

      (I've actually had a retail store clerk recommend to me to photocopy the receipt if I wanted it to be still readable after a while)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Amazing technology

        and don't think of taping that receipt to the box for safekeeping...

        Just discovered something glue makes thermal paper go back to white in just a few weeks

      2. Shadow Systems Silver badge
        Pint

        At JMCH, re: photocopies.

        Thank you for posting that bit of advice. I was going to post something similar if nobody else had.

        I always request the paper receipt, take it home, lay it on the scanner, & save a copy to my archive. The physical copy goes in the receipts folder for tax purposes, the archived version to be printed out if the physical gets too faint for my sighted helpers to read.

        If I need to return something I'll open the archive, send a copy to the printer, & take the copy with me instead - it's almost certainly going to be a clear version for them to deal with, at least according to my sighted minions when asked "Is this readable or does my printer need ink again?"

        Enjoy a pint & have a good day...

    2. sal II

      Re: Amazing technology

      I wonder which is faster - Booting up a laptop/phone and starting an e-mail client/application or browsing through 100s of faded paper receipts in a drawer to find the one you are looking for. I somewhat doubt you are using the Dewey Decimal Classification system.

      I agree the paper copy should be always available as an option, but make it an opt-in, rather than opt-out similar to how most self-checkouts now ask you if you want a receipt at the end, instead of automatically spewing one, just to remain discarded there or instantly binned.

      1. Cederic Silver badge

        Re: Amazing technology

        How much do you buy that you have 100s of receipts?

        I have about 8 receipts that I need to retain, and 7 of those are past the time I need to retain them.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Amazing technology

        Usually , if you need a proof of purchase, it will be for an item that has failed during warranty, usually it will have come with an instruction/information sheet... is it really so difficult to staple the proof of purchase to the relevant documentation? Makes for a very easy filing system with no involvement from Dewey, Huwey Lewie or any other fo Mr Ducks extended family.

        (and yes I am aware of the spellings....)

    3. R 11

      Re: Amazing technology

      I'm struggling to understand why you'd complain about the boot up time of your email application and ignore the time it takes to find a receipt for the dodgy hard drive you bought in mid-October last year and want to return before the warranty expires?

      The huge advantage of digital receipts is searchability. Worried about spam? Then sign up using an email address that you only use for receipts.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Amazing technology

        "Worried about spam? Then sign up using an email address that you only use for receipts."

        And watch it collect more and more spam. The real way to do this is to set up a number of addresses before you go shopping. Hand the next one out to each shop. Get the receipt. Kill the address. In practical terms I already have more addresses than I'd like to have just for the firms I regularly do business with.

        1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

          At Doctor Syntax, re: email accounts.

          I create an email account for each store, use that email only at that store, so if/when it starts getting flooded with spam I know *exactly* whom leaked it to the spammers.

          You can create as many address' as you need, just make sure each one is unique to the store/site it was generated for, so you can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt whom to stop doing business with in the future.

          1. Simple Si

            Re: At Doctor Syntax, re: email accounts.

            GMail's 'plus addressing' feature can save you time creating multiple email accounts. Just add '+ServiceName' to the username portion of the email address e.g. Jo. Bloggs+acme@gmail.com when you sign up with an organisation and you can work out which organisation has leaked/shared your address or create a rule to filter those off. A dot also works in the same way and harder for scammers stumbling on leaked email addressees to clean up. Granted, it does not address privacy concerns if you don't trust Google but it's a useful feature.

            1. eldakka Silver badge

              Re: At Doctor Syntax, re: email accounts.

              Are you sure a '.' works in the same way? Many organisations assign staff email addresses in the "firstname.lastname" format, therefore a system that treats '.' specially may run into problems.

              While I do like gmails '+' system, since it's been around so long, I'm really surprised that systems that ask for email addresses haven't already started recognising this fact and just blatting everything between the '+' and the @ symbol from entered email addresses automatically to just end up with the 'real' email address. It's a pretty simple regex to do it.

              1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

                Re: At Doctor Syntax, re: email accounts.

                It's complicated, there is a thing, it might be fixed now.... I forget what exactly it is but something like, I'm robertcarnegie@gmail.com (actually I'm not) and e-mail to robert.carnegie@gmail.com will reach me... until a real robert.carnegie@gmail.com signs up, then they get it.

            2. The Real Tony Smith

              Re: At Doctor Syntax, re: email accounts.

              That's nothing to do with Gmail, that's generic email standards

  3. Blergh

    Universal store card

    All of the above problems plus the bother of spelling out an email address at the till.

    Just a spur or the moment thought...

    Could some sort of independent and universal store card work? Whoever ran it would end up having a mountain of your data, but maybe the receipts could be encrypted in two forms, first so only you can see it and secondly by the store account so they can see it (or is that even needed?).

    Maybe something like Lastpass, or whatever, but for receipts and comes with a physical card (or contactless) which can be bopped after, or somehow with, your payment.

    Or maybe it would be easier to somehow combine the full receipt with the transaction to your card provider.

    I don't suppose this gets past the security guy problem, unless there's an easy system to call up your receipt from just another contactless swipe at the store.

    1. JetSetJim Silver badge

      Re: Universal store card

      Or just have the till edit a programmable RFID with the transaction details on it - wave your phone over it and the phone grabs the details and stores the receipt in your own device, synched to whichever data-slurper you want, but encrypted and the store has nothing on you.

      Have to agree that giving email details to a store to get a receipt is not what I want, but paper ones do tend to get lost/torn/wiped clean by the ravages of time (I have lots of blank receipts, it would seem).

    2. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: Universal store card

      That would be very easy, but do you want all the junk marketing that will come with it?

      1. Adelio

        Re: Universal store card

        Just never give the store your email adress. Simples!

    3. Captain Hogwash
      Stop

      Re: Universal store card

      "Whoever ran it would end up having a mountain of your data"

      Stop right there!

    4. Just Enough

      Re: Universal store card

      " the receipts could be encrypted"

      It wouldn't matter if it was encrypted, just the information on where it came from would be valuable enough. But if you're encrypting it for the store to have access, then you cannot make this anonymous or encrypted.

      "a mountain of your data"

      You'd trust this all to some third party? This data would be a goldmine. You trust that third party to not have a peek at it? You trust them to secure it adequately so it doesn't get stolen?

      And how would it all be paid for?

    5. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Universal store card

      "Could some sort of independent and universal store card work?"

      I suppose it could, technically, but I certainly wouldn't use it. I'm not willing to use "loyalty cards" due to privacy concerns as it is, and a universal store card like that would amplify the privacy risk by orders of magnitude.

  4. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    The other day I saw a stand-up comic (I think it might have been Sarah Millican) on the tellybox who replayed a conversation that she regularly has at checkouts...

    "...and your email address is?"

    "Irrelevant"

    1. iron Silver badge

      My reply is usually a stern "you don't need my email address."

      1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker
        Angel

        ...with a Jedi hand-wave?

        1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
          Happy

          Wouldn't that be "This is not the e-mail address you are looking for"?

          1. Tom 38 Silver badge

            The first one worked fine too:

            Sandtrooper: How long have you had these droids?

            Luke Skywalker: About three or four seasons.

            Ben Kenobi: They're for sale if you want them.

            Sandtrooper: Let me see your identification.

            Ben Kenobi: (waving his hand slowly) You don't need to see his identification.

            Sandtrooper: [pauses] We don't need to see his identification.

            Ben Kenobi: These aren't the droids you're looking for.

            Sandtrooper: These aren't the droids we're looking for.

            Ben Kenobi: He can go about his business.

            Sandtrooper: You can go about your business.

            Ben Kenobi: Move along.

            Sandtrooper: [gesturing] Move along! Move along!

            Hand wave only happens with the "You don't need to see his identification line".

      2. JohnFen Silver badge

        I used to do that, but it became a debate often enough that I switched tactics. Now, I use the same answer to all such questions:

        "What is your email?" -- "I don't have one"

        "What is your phone #?" -- "I don't have one"

        "What is your address?" -- "I don't have one"

        "What is your name?" -- "I don't have one"

    2. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
      Devil

      Mines...

      Spambox@{my personal domain}.co.uk

      The best thing is when the cashier gives me that look either of complete surprise at the blatantness of it, or knowing respect wondering why they hadn't thought of something similar before.

      That said, might add 'irrelevant' as an email box now just because I can and because I'd like to see them spell that in a hurry.

    3. eldakka Silver badge
      Coat

      "...and your email address is?"

      "Irrelevant"

      Or you could create an email address composed of nothing but highly offensive swear words, only about 80 characters long, and recite it in a strong loud voice when they ask for it at the counter.

      bigf*c*ck#&*#*$a*(&U%$#@DVDAasiangangbang.com

      1. LewisRage

        I have, and use, an email address of cunts@mildlyoffensivedomain.com. I use it for spam purposes and never really thought about it that much as I only ever CTRL+V it into websites I don't care that much about.

        until...

        I got an offer from an italian wine company that I thought was probably a bit spammy but I wanted the cheap wine so I signed up with the above address, bought and received the wine and everything was good.

        until...

        My phone rang with an odd looking international number. I answer it and am greeted with a nice sounding but very very italian lady asking in pretty broken english (vastly better than my italian mind) if I wanted more wine. Well it turns out i did so we proceed to transact until she wanted to confirm my details and started reading out my email address...

        "so that coontz@mildili... mildly... cuuntz@mild"

        I cut her off there and asked her to change that address to a proper one.

        My only hope is that her english was limited enough that the worst of swear words wasn't one that she was familiar with and the concept contained in mildlyoffensivedomain.com wasn't one that she grasped.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          patently offensive email addresses

          Been there, done that.

          Its fucking hilarious.

          My wifi hotspot on my phone is named using an extremely offensive set of words and the passphrase is even worse.

    4. Daedalus Silver badge

      Over here in Murica there used to be a "zip code please?" request when purchasing. If using anonymous cash I typically would reply either "60606" (somewhere in Chicago) or the zip code which just happened to belong to the entirety of a large local corporation once famous around the world for capturing your life's moments.

      1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker
        Trollface

        You could also use the (in)famous 90210.

  5. regbadgerer

    Digital receipts have their uses

    The only shop which I let send me digital receipts is Screwfix (because being able to easily see what I previously ordered so I can order some more is just too useful). The irony is that they print you a receipt anyway because you have to hang around waiting for the thing you ordered to be fetched from the warehouse.

    1. Steevee

      Re: Digital receipts have their uses

      I have found that Screwfix are actually one of the worst offenders for trying to get your email address out of you, one branch in particular. Every time I shop in any branch of Screwfix they always ask for my email address, but this one branch is notorious, and unfortunately the closest one to my work. Once time I went in to buy a back of nuts and bolts, worth about £3.50 for which I was paying for in actual beer tokens, and the first thing the assistant asked me for was my email address. The very first thing, before I had even told them what i wanted. When I politely declined to reveal my email address, he looked at me as though I had two heads, and insisted that he needed my email address, or, and I quote, "my receipt would not be valid". Seriously.

      Now, I don't know who told him to state such utter, bare-faced crap, but I suspect that it was his manager, who in turn is under pressure from his bosses to slurp up as many email addresses as possible; maybe his annual bonus is based on such metrics. In subsequent visits to the same branch, I have not been told the same porkies, but I have seen that in order to buy anything without giving your email, the manager has to be called over to enter his super-secret access code to allow the till to process it.

  6. AndrewD375

    Hand over your email address to every shop you go into - then receive spam from them for ever.

    What could possibly be wrong with that idea?

    1. GreggS

      Yeah but don't worry, the ICO is here to make sure all that data is used correctly!

    2. HereIAmJH

      They could solve the email problem if they'd work with cell phone makers to incorporate NFC receipts. Then there would be a benefit for us as well, since all the receipts could be stored together (on the phone) rather than having to dig through email to find them.

      But another problem is they expect you to hand over your phone when they need to look at the receipts. I don't want to hand my phone to a stranger to get out the door at Sam's Club.

  7. GreggS

    "Server farms and data centres require vast amounts of energy to operate"

    They have to pay for that £2.9bn overspend at Hinkley Point C somehow.

  8. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Meh

    The problem is there's no defined standard, so it's roll-your-own (again)

    I'm not against digital receipts, but there have to be some basics ...

    1) It has to be permanent. So no links to a file or generate webpage. I want a PDF that I can save.

    2) It has to function AS A RECEIPT. So whatever codes or data it needs to carry to convince the retailer it's genuine is the job of the retailer to provide.

    3) It has to be ACCEPTABLE IN A COURT OF LAW as evidence.

    4) It should need no more data from me beyond an email address. Same way you don't need to provide your inside leg measurement for a Sainsburys till receipt.

    Beyond that, I'm not really bothered. But I know, and most people reading this know, that isn't how tech works these days. And that every man plus dog will be outsourcing the job to a bunch of data-slurping cowboys with the goal of making money from providing receipts.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: The problem is there's no defined standard, so it's roll-your-own (again)

      In order to not be challenged it would need to be digitally signed otherwise you could be accused of editing it. You would also need to be able to verify the signature. You would need all that before you leave the counter. It's hardly a speedy way to achieve throughput at the store.

      1. PaymentGuy

        Re: The problem is there's no defined standard, so it's roll-your-own (again)

        "In order to not be challenged it would need to be digitally signed"

        Nonsense. Most physical receipts are not tamperproof, so why would this suddenly be a requirement for digital receipts? If the retailer disputes the transaction, their financial records will show whether the sale took place. And if the payment wasn't in cash, it will be easy for the customer to show that a transaction did take place; this sufficient proof of purchase - irrespective of the availability of any receipt - for any statutory claims against the retailer.

        Of course, for unwanted items and other 'goodwill' claims, the retailer can define any conditions they wish; the consumer has no statutory rights in this instance.

    2. fwthinks

      Re: The problem is there's no defined standard, so it's roll-your-own (again)

      One other really important consideration - is that you need to be able to create an offline store for your emails, otherwise you can't access it when email is not accessible or your email account is removed / moved. If you don't have full offline access to your own data, you have no control over it.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: The problem is there's no defined standard, so it's roll-your-own (again)

        I do that as a matter of course. Emails are received by an email client, stored and deleted from the server. Old school.

    3. Just Enough

      Re: The problem is there's no defined standard, so it's roll-your-own (again)

      "I want a PDF that I can save."

      No thanks. I want a file format that's actually accessible. PDFs are the second worse possible repository for any kind of data. (Just after a scanned jpeg).

      "So whatever codes or data it needs to carry to convince the retailer it's genuine is the job of the retailer to provide."

      All it needs is a unique sale code that can be cross referenced with the retailer's own data.

      1. The First Dave Silver badge

        Re: The problem is there's no defined standard, so it's roll-your-own (again)

        PDF's are definitely better than Word 2.1 format, not to mention ClarisWorks 2.4 or .mht

        1. Just Enough

          Re: The problem is there's no defined standard, so it's roll-your-own (again)

          Well if you're going to wheel ancient formats out the crypt, PDF is also better than a punch card. But unlikely to be selected for use.

    4. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: The problem is there's no defined standard, so it's roll-your-own (again)

      >4) It should need no more data from me beyond an email address.

      Shouldn't need any data from me. It is a given that the person in possession of the receipt is either the original purchaser or their representative.

      Currently, the receipt will give last four digits of the payment card or says 'cash'. This is currently sufficient for returns/refunds so don't see a need for any additional personal information.

      5) It needs to be in a form that will readily satisfy expense claims and HMRC. ie. I hate having to print out a load of e-receipts to attach to expense claim.

      6) Additionally, it would be useful to be able to file it with any associated paperwork eg. guarantee/warranty, support agreement...

      The real problem with e-anything is that increasingly, it assumes a person will have their entire life in their pocket on a smart phone. Given smart phones (as generally known) are just over 12 years old, there is alot to be said for the humble paper receipt - I've got the original receipt for some furniture my grandparents purchased back in the 1920's - not much use? very useful for an insurance claim or evidencing providence for auction...

  9. Flak
    Big Brother

    Cash is king in the age of surveillance capitalism (coupled with paper receipts)

    One of my children has a book about forensics with the simple phrase 'every contact leaves a trace' on its back cover.

    I should be able to choose to purchase with cash and without having to give any personal details the vast majority of goods and many services.

    Emailed receipts build up the same plethora of personal data that loyalty store cards collect.

    Many people will say that is perfectly acceptable, but may not be fully aware of the power of that data when it comes to profiling consumers and the insights it gives those collecting the data into their (very personal) lives.

    1. JimmyPage Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Emailed receipts build up the same plethora of personal data that loyalty store cards collect.

      only if its set up that way.

      Quite possible to deliver e-receipts anonymously if you wanted to

      Off the top of my head, reversing the NFC tap, so that the reader sends the receipt to the device as part of the transaction.

      Is anybody working on that ? No.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Emailed receipts build up the same plethora of personal data that loyalty store cards collect.

        Quite possible to deliver e-receipts anonymously if you the issuer wanted to.

        FTFY

        But otherwise, agreed.

      2. Steevee

        Re: Emailed receipts build up the same plethora of personal data that loyalty store cards collect.

        "Reversing the NFC tap, so that the reader sends the receipt to the device as part of the transaction."

        That would of course require the buyer to be in possession of an NFC contactless card. I for one am not, for all of the security and privacy reasons opined in previous comments.

  10. phuzz Silver badge

    I'm trying to remember the last time I actually needed a receipt and I'm coming up blank. Any time I've needed to take something back, I've either had some kind of online invoice, or they're not cared about the lack of receipt.

    *Edit, except for claiming expenses, which I almost never have to do.

    I always habitually just throw them away as soon as I get them.

    1. cynic56

      That's quite a significant asterisk there for a lot of people. Receipts are no problem as long as you have Camscanner too.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "I'm trying to remember the last time I actually needed a receipt and I'm coming up blank."

      Look on it as a backup. You want to never have to use it but if you do have to you're in trouble if you don't have it.

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      >I'm trying to remember the last time I actually needed a receipt and I'm coming up blank.

      There are two things here, the times you've actually needed a receipt eg. return of goods, and those times where a receipt is useful, like when making an insurance claim - something you hope never to have to do, but...

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Sure, but I'm almost in my forties and have never yet needed a receipt that I've thrown away.

        I understand why I might need to keep one, I just never have needed to (except for expenses).

    4. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      A month ago, the local Tesco put a ?detection gate? at the exit to the self-service tills. It decided to beep when I left. (Shrapnel probably - during the war, I took an arrow to the knee.) The security guard monitoring it wanted to see the receipt before he was convinced I wasn't a hoodlum.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The security guard monitoring it wanted to see

        and if you said "no" ? What's he gonna do ? Taser you to the floor.

        Any security guard that dared to impede my progress would be starting with a civil claim for false imprisonment, and if they decided to actually touch me, could add assault to that.

        You think I'm stealing ? You prove it. Otherwise you can FRO.

        I cry inwardly when I read so many people assuming they have to prove their innocence. It's the other way round, and long may it stay that way.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The security guard monitoring it wanted to see

          It is the other way round but do you want to be arrested and spend a good few hours in a police station having your fingerprints and dna taken while they confirm your innocence? They might even take your keys and go and search your house and car for other stolen items, they could even take things and keep them for months on suspicion you haven't paid for them. Then after all that all you can do is write a strongly worded letter.

          So yeah it is innocent till proven guilty but the processes in between screws you over good and proper. I'll keep my receipt thanks.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I'll keep my receipt thanks.

            Comprehension fail since no one said anything about not keeping the receipt.

            The PPs point was about the rights of a security guard to detain you leaving a store, which are very, very limited, and require the store to have the proof you have committed an offence, not you to have evidence to the contrary.

            Absent that proof, any attempt to detain you would be false imprisonment for starters. And if it was occasioned with physical force - or even the threat of such - it becomes assault.

            Know your law, bro.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I'll keep my receipt thanks.

              Receipt is relevant in relation to the article and the discussion as the request will be to show a receipt. Maybe they ask you to empty pockets first but you still need a receipt unless you are committing theft.

              https://www.theguardian.com/law/2011/aug/09/guide-to-citizens-arrest

              to prevent the person being arrested from: (a) causing physical injury to himself or any other person; (b) suffering physical injury; (c) causing loss of or damage to property; or (d) making off before a constable can assume responsibility for him.

              See note D. Theft is an indictable offence as it can be tried in crown court.

              They can make a citizens arrest or they can just call the police and you walking off it makes you look guilty. In real life they will just detain you till the police get there then whose job is it to arrest said store guard for false imprisonment? That's right it's the police who have come for you. Do you really think the police are going to accept your excuse? Wait a second you don't have one. The proof is that you won't co-operate with the security guard, why would you not do that? That now throws probable cause into the equation and wasting police time.

              This is how the law works in practise, the innocent till guilty part doesn't come into play until you get to court. The police aren't going to assume you are innocent as it's literally their job to catch criminals. It also gets better, if you then decide to say nothing and let it go to court guess what? If do try that in court the judge would probably lock you up for wasting their time anyway.

              Totally checked the law bro.

              Edit: I'm guessing you're talking about US if so completely different, this is what we have in the UK.

              1. PaymentGuy

                Re: I'll keep my receipt thanks.

                "They can make a citizens arrest or they can just call the police and you walking off it makes you look guilty. In real life they will just detain you till the police get there then whose job is it to arrest said store guard for false imprisonment?"

                What you've missed here is the following:

                The police have power to arrest someone on suspicion of committing an offence, even if an offence hasn't been committed; i.e. "I think there may have been an offence, and I think you may have committed it."

                Everyone else has to *know* that an offence has been committed, and then may arrest someone they suspect of committing it. Triggering a security scanner is not an offence. Unless they *know* that something has been stolen, they *cannot* arrest you. If they try it, then *they* have committed at least one offence.

                "This is how the law works in practise, the innocent till guilty part doesn't come into play until you get to court. The police aren't going to assume you are innocent as it's literally their job to catch criminals."

                Rubbish. The police will not subject themselves to the paperwork, and their own accusations of false arrest, based solely on the word of a doorman. Failure to stop for a security scanner is not an offence; neither is failure to comply with a security guards. It is trivial for the police to establish whether or not a theft is in occurring as soon as they show up; if they cannot, then what on earth are they going to present to the court when they get there?

                1. JohnFen Silver badge

                  Re: I'll keep my receipt thanks.

                  "Failure to stop for a security scanner is not an offence; neither is failure to comply with a security guards."

                  This, in the US, anyway.

                  A store can make compliance with security guard requests a condition for shopping in the store, but even then if you don't comply their only recourse is to ask you to leave.

              2. JohnFen Silver badge

                Re: I'll keep my receipt thanks.

                Yes, citizen's arrest in the US is very different. The specifics can vary depending on the state you're in, but generally speaking, you can only make a "citizen's arrest" if you have personally observed the crime being committed.

                So, a store could not "arrest" you for failing to produce a receipt. They could if they actually saw you stealing something, though.

          2. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: The security guard monitoring it wanted to see

            "do you want to be arrested"

            Arrested for what, exactly?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: The security guard monitoring it wanted to see

              Wasting police time for a start by not cooperating.

              1. PaymentGuy

                Re: The security guard monitoring it wanted to see

                Who said anything about not cooperating with police?

        2. Marty McFly
          Flame

          Re: The security guard monitoring it wanted to see

          The transaction was completed over there at the cash register. I exchanged money for goods. These goods, including the receipt, are my personal property. They are carried on my person. THE STORE SECURITY GUARD HAS NO RIGHT TO SEARCH MY PERSON OR PERSONAL PROPERTY. If there was a problem with the transaction, then it should have been addressed at the point of purchase.

          If I am stopped by a security guard, it will be immediate 911 call from my cell phone. "I am being detained against my will, please send an officer immediately." I will not leave where I am standing and be taken to a back room. And if they touch me, it is assault. I will be polite. I will be courteous. But I will not stand for having my person searched by anyone other than a sworn law enforcement officer.

          At that point the store manager had better get the lip balm out for kissing my backside. Same thing for the officer if they decide to search me. I am not a thief, so there would be no evidence to give the officer probable cause to search me. A smart officer would ask to see a video of the alleged crime, or at least have someone attest to seeing a crime. Absent that evidence, a smart officer would send me on my way without a search and proceed to rip the store a new one. Refusing to be searched by store security does not constitute a crime.

          Stores that ask to see my receipt get a 'no' and I keep walking out the door. They also go on my list of stores to avoid in the future if possible.

          (Well what about Costco, Sam's club, and those places? Those are membership clubs where members agree to be searched as part of the membership agreement. They have voluntarily given up their privacy rights while shopping at that club.)

          1. Dog11

            Re: The security guard monitoring it wanted to see

            You have far more faith in the likelihood of a smart police officer than I do. And, in the event of a not-smart one, the naive belief that their employer, or a court, will do anything about it.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The security guard monitoring it wanted to see

            Lets not confuse UK with USA, I'm talking about UK.

        3. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

          Re: The security guard monitoring it wanted to see

          Actually, when stopped, I normally leg it and see whether the guard can match me for speed and endurance. And if they do catch me, then I enjoy the expression on their face when they realise I've not nicked nothing. But I couldn't do that because I was in my heels...

          Seriously, imaginations are getting carried away. First, I was in my own world when it happened so I was half way through the process before I came to my senses. And all he did was ask me to step through the arch again and then check the number of items on the receipt matched the number of items in my carrier bag. He didn't look in any of my other bags (where he would have found an old DVD that probably triggered the false positive). I was miffed. But being banned would be an inconvenience. And, on reflection, what he did was proportionate and reasonable.

          The arch had gone the next time I was in there, and hasn't been back since. I hope my false positive counted against it in some metric. And I got to learn the limit of their processes.

    5. JohnFen Silver badge

      I came to the same realization decades ago, and that's when I stopped keeping receipts (except for transactions on behalf of my business or transactions involving a lot of money). It has never been a problem.

  11. goodjudge

    "There is also a perception, not just among older citizens either, that having all shop receipts entered and sent digitally opens the consumer up to receiving unsolicited marketing messages based on their transaction histories."

    You mean the people trying to force us into these things actually have another justifcation for them? And yes of course I'm going to repeat my full name and email address countless times in front of shops full of strangers every single week... Yes, I know I could use fake ones but why have to?

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      It's not a perception - it's the fucking reason!

      We all know why shops started doing this, and it's not the horrible costs of paper till rolls. It's to harvest a massive number of email addresses. And that's proved by the fact that nobody asks you if you want to get junkmail when they ask for your email for a receipt - and the first email you get when you do is always a sort of welcome to you and why not have a look at our latest offers thing, and only then comes the email with the receipt. Usually followed by a voucher the next week - or just a general marketing email.

      Which is why I only accept electronic receipts if I want the marketing. But all that marketing is still illegal, because they've asked for my email for a specific reason, then used it for marketing. I don't think I've ever been asked. Though I got an e-receipt from one of those gadget shops at Christmas, interested to see what offers I'd get, and they're the only one that didn't send me any junk email, just the receipt. So kudos to them.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Paperless Office

    Back in the 80s TPTB decided we would switch from paper timesheets to a 'paperless office'. They issued us all with Psion Organiser IIs, with their wonderful 2x16 char displays, a ROMpack to hold the timesheet program and a RAMpack to hold the data.

    I was office-based and my 'timesheet' was fairly straight forward, although it was apparent that entering the day as a single block of 8hr was a lot quicker than entering 4 blocks separated by tea/lunch breaks, but for the field guys it was a nightmare as they had to book each and every job plus the dead time between them... start time, booking code, end time, closure code... repeat until day=8hr. Inevitably the field guys would end up hooking it up to a printer to dump the contents, possible 2 or 3 times, because they couldn't get the numbers to match. Once a week the RAMpacks were given to the boss (who dished out UV-erased replacements), who then imported them into his Psion to reconcile the totals, which were then printed out again and CORRECTED BY PEN because the totals never were right!

    Result: more trees destroyed to make virgin white fanfold paper that mostly got immediately binned

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Paperless Office

      >Result: more trees destroyed to make virgin white fanfold paper that mostly got immediately binned

      This isn't a totally bad thing...

      The Woodland Trust, whilst it maintains ancient woodlands, has recognised that for woodlands to exist, there is a certain amount of active management required. So using some paper means that someone is having to plant and maintain some commercial forestry.

      Another example is the cork Oaks, with the increased usage of plastic corks many cork oaks are now effectively worthless and so get grubbed up...

  13. Chris G Silver badge

    It doesn't stop there

    It's not only digital receipts but also totally digital money. There are strong lobbies at the fed and the Euro bank to digitise all money, then you won't need a receipt, your entire existence will be visible to almost anyone who has an interest what you bought, when you bought it and probably some marketeer will come up with an algorithm that will give an idea of why you bought it based on allbthe other info they have stored.

  14. iron Silver badge
    FAIL

    My work is currently trying to force everyone on to electronic pay slips. The problem being not everyone has an email address so the board's solution is to provide 2,500 work email addresses to workers who never had them before and based on experience of said workers are incapable of turning on a computer or using a phone for anything more than calls or texts. We're a charity and this will cost a fortune plus they have not added any IT resource to support those 2,500 IT illiterates.

    Personally I want to keep my paper pay slips and I'm not happy at being forced to have an electronic one that I will need to forward to an email address I actually own. I forsee a lot of problems when they enforce this.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Where I work we adopted electronic payslips a number of years ago. Notifications via email, but everything held online and accessed via a secure website. Actually works quite well, but I suspect that the quality of the experience depends a lot on the quality of the implementation of whatever system your employer uses....which will be dictated largely by how much they're willing to spend.

      We had thousands of employees getting payslips snail-mailed to home, and the cost of all those stamps adds up, so I expect our HR bods had a reasonable budget for the new paperless system.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "everything held online and accessed via a secure website"

        Is that externally accessible? If so how secure?

        Will you have access to it after you leave and HMRC/IRS/whoever challenge you about something?

        1. baud Bronze badge

          Where I work, the pay slips are on a website managed by the national Post Office, so I don't think we'd lose access when we leave the company.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Is that externally accessible? If so how secure?

          HTTPS and multifactor authentication to servers which, if they're held where I think they are, are physically secure enough not to cause me concerns.

          Will you have access to it after you leave and HMRC/IRS/whoever challenge you about something?

          Not sure about the data's life expectancy if I leave the company, but I have the option to export/download data if I want

        3. eldakka Silver badge

          My work has electronic payslips on the internal SAP system.

          I can access it from home, after I establish a VPN connection to work using 2-factor auth (TOTP token).

          If I want a copy, I can select "print", "save" or "emailto".

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        held online and accessed via a secure website

        which is an oxymoron.

        I had the same - right up until I left, and the payroll system zapped the records.

      3. Tom 38 Silver badge

        everything held online and accessed via a secure website

        HR did this to us as well. Their chosen provider (ADP) provides payslips and P60 (end of year earnings statements) through a secure website.... that requires IE, and for you to install ActiveX controls in IE.

        They do provide an app for phones that allows you to get them in PDF, but meh. Since work provide laptops for everyone, there isn't considered to be a barrier to access and is 100% legit in the UK, sadly.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          HR did this to us as well. Their chosen provider (ADP) provides payslips and P60 (end of year earnings statements) through a secure website.... that requires IE, and for you to install ActiveX controls in IE.

          We used to have the ADP service which I felt a bit lukewarm about but moved to someone else a while back and it's much better...in particular can be accessed from any browser without the need for plugins or add-ons

      4. Olivier2553 Silver badge

        We had thousands of employees getting payslips snail-mailed to home, and the cost of all those stamps adds up

        Handover the payslips to employees at the working place, save stamps, problem solved.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Handover the payslips to employees at the working place, save stamps, problem solved.

          Forgot to mention - centralised payroll and thousands of employees at hundreds of sites around the country, plus a massive cohort of home-workers

    2. D@v3

      @iron

      That sounds eerily familiar.

      Charity (check)

      Dozens of new email accounts for people that never go near computers (small charity, check)

      No additional IT resources / support (check)

  15. Badvok
    Boffin

    Fade Away

    At least digital receipts don't fade away and become useless when you need to return an item. Very few paper receipts will actually survive until the warranty runs out on most items.

    1. Olivier2553 Silver badge

      Re: Fade Away

      So far, paper has survived few thousand of years, it is to early to say the same about digital data.

      1. TomPhan

        Re: Fade Away

        The thermal printing only lasts a few weeks.

  16. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
    Alien

    Receipts

    I only want it when the alarm goes off when you try and exit.

    1. Marty McFly
      Holmes

      Re: Receipts

      Why? You are not a thief. The store's system malfunctioned. Not your problem. Keep walking.

      I have yet to stop for a false positive, and I have yet to be confronted about it.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Receipts

        Although I don't stop for those stupid receipt checks that some stores do, if I've set of the antitheft alarm, I do stop for that.

        The few times it's happened, I turned around, caught the eye of a nearby employee, and asked if they wanted to search my bags. Each time, they said no. I suspect that my behavior gave them enough reassurance that I wasn't stealing that it was no longer worth the bother of actually checking.

    2. Caver_Dave
      Unhappy

      Re: Receipts

      Especially if you don't have a store issued bag, or no bag at all.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    With a paper receipt, everything is there in black & white (or shades thereof, depending on how badly the receipt has faded). With an electronic receipt it's all just bits & bytes in a PDF, or pixels in a JPG. I can conceive a wheeze where you buy something when it's on sale but then doctor the receipt to show a different purchase date and price, then take goods back for refund of more than you paid. How diligent are the till staff of checking the validity of the contents of an electronic receipt?

    Just thinking out loud, on behalf of a friend....

    1. The Basis of everything is...

      That's fine until they type in the receipt number to issue the refund and can't get a match on the system. At which point expect a nice chat while they wait for plod to arrive...

  18. RogerT

    When I last needed a paper receipt

    The last time I needed a paper receipt was when a store detective stopped me AFTER leaving the supermarket. I didn't have any contraband and the problem was (eventually) sorted out. Eventually because he snatched my bag from me containing receipt, wallet, and the goods he alleged I stole so I had to involve the police. I now always pay with a card and keep my receipt in my wallet which will be in a pocket. I've not seen that store detective there ever since.

    The moral is always have a paper receipt when you leave the store.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: When I last needed a paper receipt

      The moral is always have a paper receipt when you leave the store.

      I think it's Italy who where you're legally required to keep your restaurant receipt until you're at least 150m from the restaurant. Stops people doing a runner and then claiming that they did pay, but discarded the receipt.

      1. John Arthur

        Re: When I last needed a paper receipt

        No, it's for the Fiscal Police to check whether you have paid the full price or done some shady deal with the proprietor to avoid tax. It's not just restaurants either.

    2. paulf Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: When I last needed a paper receipt

      I think if someone tried to yank my bag off me I'd have dealt with them as I would any mugger and deck them use reasonable force to curtail their attack. That SD would then be explaining to the police why they have attacked me and actually have my possessions. They'd also be facing a civil claim for any damage caused to my possessions. As mentioned by other commentards above, SDs have very few powers, and attempts to detain, obstruct, assault and search won't go down well in court.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Digital receipts are fine if the stuff is bought online, on the rare occasions I buy stuff in person, I want hard copy that can be archived for warranty / proof of ownership etc. I can also scan them in and store electronically, in a location of my choosing, without anyone else being able to harvest, analyse and use to 'target' me.

    it's also going to be a cold day in hell when company beancounters accept anything other than paper receipts for cash expenses such as parking etc.

    1. The Basis of everything is...

      Previous employer used Concur for expenses. We simply had to take a picture on a phone, add a few details and upload from a phone app or email it to an expenses mailbox from any registered email address.

      Current employer has own system. We can only submit PDFs of receipts which means take a picture on phone. Transfer to my own PC as phones not allowed to connect to work laptop. Download to USB stick and then upload to work laptop. Create a word document, attach picture to word document and then print document to a pdf. Then open separate expense site which does not work with standard browser - and runs slower than a Pi proving Tesla's last theorem, fill in all details by hand including receipt ID number and then upload the PDF file and finally submit. Then wait a week for a rejection 'cos you haven't followed expense rules which are loosely based on the principles of Mornington Crescent...

    2. kiwimuso
      FAIL

      Security

      Does no one ever use them to reconcile with bank/credit card statements?

      That's the only reason we keep them, then unless needed for warranty purposes are shredded once a month.

      And if you DON'T reconcile your bank/credit card statements, you have a naive trust in other people.

      It doesn't happen often but we have found mistakes in both types of statement, not to mention small amounts charged to the credit card without authorisation. Small amounts may not matter to me personally, but if it's done by a single perpetrator against >100s people, it's a nice little earner for them.

  20. KBeee

    In the UK under the Consumers Rights Act (which replaced the Sale of Goods Act in October 2015), you don't actually need a receipt to return faulty goods. But you do need to have proof of payment, so a bank statement or credit card statement showing the purchase and payment would do. Obviously the stores own receipt is probably the easiest way. Handy to know if you lost your till receipt and a week later your new item is found to be faulty.

  21. NBCanuck

    Receipt email address

    I have a special gmail address that I use for all places where I have to put an email address, and use it for receipts as well. I check it monthly and am generally quite surprised that I don't see any companies that I am not familiar with, so looks like they hoard for their own lists as I don't see any signs that that address is being sold around.

    1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: Receipt email address

      One of the joys of having your own domain with a catch-all mailbox is you can tell them that your email address is thespammingc***tsatthisstorewillabusethisemailaddress@mydomain.com - it's especially joyful to ask them to read it back loudly and clearly to me to ensure they've got it correctly.

  22. Boufin

    Assistant: "Do you want a receipt?"

    Me: "No"

    Assistant: Takes receipt and tosses it in the bin.

  23. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    And e-tickets

    I booked tickets for a local event. The email tells me I do not need to print this email just make a note of the booking reference. It's an alphameric string of 17 characters. Yes, I'm going to remember that when I turn up at the door aren't I? And the door staff are really going to check that in a list of 100 or so 17 character numbers.

    What are this lot on? Gotit! Green Koolaide. Because it's "more than 400 times better for the environment" if I don't print it. Eejits.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: And e-tickets

      >I booked tickets for a local event. The email tells me I do not need to print this email just make a note of the booking reference.

      The number of times, I've been glad I've just printed out the email receipt as it has contained a bar/QR code and the choice has been to either go through the door staff using readers or queue at the ticket desk where they will look up your booking...

      1. Nick Kew

        Re: And e-tickets

        That's what your phone is for - both of you. No sweat for it to deal with 17-character references and barcodes.

        If you don't want that, fine. But it doesn't invalidate the concept, or make it dumb to offer you that option.

  24. JohnFen Silver badge

    I don't want digital receipts

    99% of the time, I don't want digital receipts. I also don't want paper receipts. I want no receipt at all.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I love technology.

    But I hate the uses it is sometimes put to e.g. marketing, data slurpers, politicians etc.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What happens when.

    Copies are stored on a disk which fails or a cloud provider loses the data?

    A fire or flood may be a problem for paper but seems to be less frequent.

  27. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    No Thanks

    I'm one of those anal retentives, who checks the receipt before leaving the shop (and yes, I have had single items double counted) then matches his bank statement every week against those receipts gathered during the week. I have every intention of continuing to do so.

  28. Nick Kew

    Neither, please

    I usually prefer no receipt whatsoever.

    I've never been challenged on my way out of a shop. If I ever were, I'd (eventually) have the evidence showing up on whatever card I'd used to pay. Inconvenient, yes, but a negligible risk, and even if it happens it's offset against dispensing with a three-figure number of tiny paper inconveniences in a year.

  29. DougS Silver badge

    My local grocery store doesn't provide receipts unless you ask

    At least if you pay via Apple Pay (and presumably other contactless systems)

    When I pay via debit card (I got one recently for a rebate and had to use it) they still gave me a receipt without asking - I wonder if that's some sort of payment processor rule they have no choice about? But when I pay via Apple Pay at first they'd ask if I wanted a receipt, now they don't even ask and will only provide receipts if you ask.

    I can see the amounts things are being rung up for on the screen at the register, and while I don't always pay attention if there is some sort of deal I want to make sure I get I usually watch for that. What's the point of getting a receipt whether paper or electronic to tell me what I bought and what it cost? Its not like I can go back to the grocery store and return a gallon of milk or a couple pounds of apples.

    So this seems like the best solution of all. If I'm buying something I think I might need to return having some sort of receipt is necessary. But I'm torn whether paper or electronic is better. If it is electronic and in my phone then I don't have to worry about losing it. But if I can't get cellular service in the store (can be a problem in those big box stores with metal roofs) then I wouldn't be able to access it and would want paper...

  30. dvhamme

    Does the environmental argument really make sense?

    Maybe all of the world's IT infrastructure could indeed account for 8% of total greenhouse emissions by 2025 (note that it is a prediction by greenies and I did not bother to check its accuracy). But that number is irrelevant, what matters is the environmental cost of a tiny sheet of paper versus the environmental cost of <1kb of data saved by the store and by your email provider.

    A study by Carnegie Mellon came up with 7kWh/GB for storage and access of files in the cloud. Round up to 7e-3Wh or 25J per e-receipt (e-ceipt? Let's be hip!). A quick search yields numbers for paper production (without printing) of about 3MWh/ton. Low grade paper is something like 55g/m2. A medium sized receipt will then round up to 1g. Just the paper it's printed on is costing 3Wh or 11kJ. Someone should check this math (it's dangerously close to Friday) but that would suggest an e-ceipt is over 400 times more environmentally friendly than the paper that goes into a real receipt, to which you may add printing and disposal costs as well.

  31. TomPhan

    email it to the company

    If a company asks for an email address for something that doesn't require one I'll give them an address based on the company's domain - usually support@ or abuse@

    1. dvhamme

      Re: email it to the company

      Great idea, then they can mail tailored promotions disclosing your personal details to an address you don't own. "Dear Mr. TomPhan, get a great deal on these essential accessories for your Excelsior Epilator Bundle Including Tight Spot Adapter (Hot Pink). Limited time offer!"

  32. Dropper

    Trust in thermal ink?

    It makes zero sense to trust something that won't last as long as the shortest warranty. Fortunately any shop worthy of your business wouldn't need an actual receipt for returns, there are numerous other ways to pull that data should your gear turn wonky.

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