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Can using the self-checkout expose you to criminal prosecution?

On Behalf of | Oct 6, 2022 | Criminal Law |

When you walk into a big-box store, you may shudder when you see the long lines at the checkout counters. After all, you are busier than ever nowadays and have no time to wait in line. Going through the self-checkout may seem ideal, as it is often considerably faster than checking out the old-fashioned way.

According to reporting from CNN, self-checkouts save stores as much as 66% over the cost of conventional cashiers. That is good news for big-box stores. For you, though, the news is not so great. Indeed, using a self-checkout can expose you to criminal prosecution for shoplifting.

You can make mistakes

Even though traditional cashiers receive extensive training and know how to do their jobs, they occasionally make mistakes. You are not a professional, of course, so you have an ever greater chance of missing a barcode or otherwise committing some error. Still, you can expect security at the store to look at cameras or self-checkout data to try to hold you responsible for shoplifting.

You can protect yourself

To minimize your odds of facing shoplifting charges, it is advisable to go slowly when ringing up your items at a self-checkout. Whenever possible, you also should pay with a debit or credit card. This gives you a record of your purchase. Naturally, it is also a good idea to save all your receipts for at least a year.

If you regularly use self-checkouts, you probably cannot eliminate your criminal exposure. Ultimately, though, you have a right to defend yourself aggressively against any shoplifting charges you face after using a self-checkout.