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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 38598
Experience:  Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.
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I purchased a box fan from my local Walmart last Sunday night.

Resolved Question:

I purchased a box fan from my local Walmart last Sunday night. As I was walking to my car I had a guy in plain clothes tell me he needed to see my receipt. I told him I was in a hurry and said no thanks. He then told me that I had to show him my receipt and identified himself as a loss prevention guy. I then told him that I did not have to show him anything and continued to walk to my car. He then demanded to see my receipt or he was calling the cops on me. I asked him if he was accusing me of theft and he did not reply. He said that he was calling the cops and I would be put on a list that is tied into the Fortune 500 companies and I would never be able to pass a background check again or get a job in security. I asked him if I was allowed to leave and he said yes, but the cops have my information and they would "hunt me down and get me."

When he told me this I called the cops myself because that was very threatening to me. I sat in the parking lot and waited for the cops to arrive. When they arrived, I told them what happened and showed the police officers my receipt just to prove that I stole nothing. This was a $20 box fan for crying out loud. Then the cops told me he had to read me his speech because I'm now banned from all Walmart's for life and I will be arrested for trespassing if I ever show up again. I did nothing wrong and I even have a Walmart credit card! When he read me the speech he told me that I'm banned from all Walmarts for life and my name is XXXXX XXXXX in a database that would prevent me from ever passing a background check or getting a job in security. This was not only recorded from the dash cam of the cop car, but also by my iPhone.

My question is, do I have any recourse here? I asked the cops if this is going on my record and they told me no. But then they said if I ever show back up and they run my name it will show that I have been trespassed from Walmart. That tells me that it is on my record. I have never been in trouble with the law in my life.

I really don't care about being banned from Walmart, that doesn't bother me. I won't be back after the way I was treated anyways. My concern is this "list" he said I will now be on. I did nothing wrong, but I will not be able to pass a background check or get a future job in security now because I didn't show this jerk my receipt?

This guy was in combat boots, cut off shorts, a concert shirt, and had a bald head. When he first approached me I thought he was going to ask me for money because this was in the parking lot at Walmart. When he told me he was loss prevention, he showed me what looked like a name tag for approximately a second before he put it up. I also have reason to believe this was a little bit personal, because even though I've never seen this man before, he made a comment about something and learned of where I work. I do not want to put that information on the internet, but can explain further through private communications.

I'm in Texas. What is my recourse if any? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.

I am genuinely sorry that you were caught up in this situation that unreasonably escalated in this manner. By 'recourse', what specifically are you referring to? What, ideally, do you wish to accomplish?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I wish to get my name removed from this "list" that he kept referring to. I also would like to know if Walmart would be responsible for all legal fees that would require me to get my name removed from this list. My fiance keeps mentioning possible "damages" for the embarrassment, and the loss of time dealing with this. They are preventing me from future employment for doing nothing wrong. I strongly believe my rights have been violated. Would that be something as well? I am just trying to figure out any and all actions I can take against walmart.


 


Also, I do believe this might have been personal, but I'm not sure if that has anything to do with this and I can't prove that. This is something not as important, unless you think it might be. I just don't know where to start or what my options are.


 


Thank you

Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your follow-up.

But just to be sure I understand, you were stopped when you were still on store property, correct? You were still on the parking lot, and the person identified himself as an employee, which you later found out to be truth. Do I understand the situation properly?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Yes, that is correct. He identified himself as loss prevention in the parking lot.

Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your follow-up. In that case please allow me to both summarize the duties and obligations of both sides, and then I can point to your options. The information may not be quie as favorable as you hope, but I ask that you do not blame the proverbial messenger in this instance.

Stores have a legal benefit called a 'shopkeeper privilege'. While a regular person cannot stop you or ask to see your bags, or request an investigation, a storekeeper can indeed do so provided that they properly identified themselves. This request can take place anywhere on store property. In this case if someone who identified himself as a loss prevention person asked to see your information, that is a valid request. Refusing to do so could permit the store to seek charges against the shopper for potentially shoplifting (as they have no evidence stating otherwise). And as the store prevention employee works for he store, he is the store's agent and that right to stop is extended to him.

Second, a store is ultimately private property. A store is also a private entity who can choose to associate or not associate with anyone it deems provied that the reason is not discriminatory. Telling a shopper that their privileges are revoked for life, and that they are no longer welcome ever at the store or they will be pursued for trespassing is a legal demand. This is not a criminal demand however--this is not something that appears anywhere on record other than within the company's internal and private database. It is similar to you telling a friend to no ever show up at your home or you'll call the police. The friend has no criminal record or history at that particular moment, but as you made it clear he is not welcome, if he does appear you could pursue legal options.

I cannot speculate on what his comments to you were and whether they were rude, but he could stop you, he could request to review your receipt, and if you rfused, he could ban you from the store. The way you can fight it is you can contact the corporate division directly, explain the situation, and request that they rescind the ban. The company is always free to change their mind and they can always choose to allow you back inside the store, especially if oyu can point out that it was a misunderstanding. This is likely the most appropriate and most effective means of pursuing this situation at this time.

Good luck.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I understand that they can ban me and it's private property. But how can they impede my future employment for not breaking any laws? This has to be a violation of my rights.


 


Also, I'm under the assumption that once I receive my receipt, the transaction if finished. I have a membership to Costco and I sign an agreement that states I will show them my receipt and they have signs posted. I didn't sign anything with Walmart and there are no signs posted.


 


Is there a law you can point me to showing me that I have to show anyone my receipt?

Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your follow-up. Please allow me to respond to each point below:


You posted:

I understand that they can ban me and it's private property. But how can they impede my future employment for not breaking any laws? This has to be a violation of my rights.

They cannot. Simple as that. At most they can deny you the ability to work at the store, but they cannot enter something against your record since this isn't criminal inn nature, it is solely a private issue.

 


Also, I'm under the assumption that once I receive my receipt, the transaction if finished. I have a membership to Costco and I sign an agreement that states I will show them my receipt and they have signs posted. I didn't sign anything with Walmart and there are no signs posted.

My apologies but that is incorrect. So long as you are on the premises, the store can exercise their privilege, question you, and detain you for a very short and reasonable period of time. A receipt signifies an end for that particular transaction, but not to the privilege. And the store still has the right to double-check before you leave if the transaction was accurate.


 


Is there a law you can point me to showing me that I have to show anyone my receipt?

I do apologize but this is 'common law', meaning that it is unwritten. The right to be detained by the store is common law that comes to the US all the way from old English law and has been in existence since then.

 

Good luck.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I have him on audio and video telling me that my name would be "put in a database (connected to the fortune 500 companies) and anybody, if I try to get a job, will see that I trespassed at Walmart and that I will never be able to get a security clearance at any job."


 


He is threatening me and preventing me from getting a job in the future and I didn't break any laws. How is this right? This is my concern.

Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your follow-up.

No, that is not right, and on that basis alone I would suggest you reach out to corporate directly. While individual stores may be poorly run or concerns come up, the actual corporate division is quite serious about not violating the law and maintaining proper practices. They can pursue this on your behalf, for free, and get it resolved--as it would be in their best interest to do so, since threats on audio can be utilized by you and your attorney to claim that he went beyond his duties as agent, that he engaged in threats and in false imprisonment, and then pursue them for damages. But before you get to that point let them try to resolve it--not this store but actual headquarters since they have direct oversight of each location.

Good luck.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I really appreciate your help. One last thing. What about going to the media. I actually work for a media company and the news director is itching to run the story, but I told him I wanted to look into the legal ramifications of that. Any thoughts?


 


Thanks

Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your follow-up.

Since it happened, you can run with it--it is potentially 'newsworthy' but the risk here is two-fold. There is a claim for potential defamation if you choose to run it as a civil rights violation piece since that is not fully certain that it really took place . This is highly unlikely but it is possible. The second may be that they may 'lawyer up' and be less likely to agree to speak with you personally over it and rescind their position. On the other hand is public opinion turns against them, they would be far more willing to communicate. It all depends if this story gains traction or not because if it does not, they would be less willing to pursue, but if it does make them appear like they are in violation, they would need good publicity to get it resolved and then they would want to speak with you.

Good luck, truly!

Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 38598
Experience: Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.
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Dimitry K., Esq.
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