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MDLaw, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 6135
Experience:  Experience in consumer litigation and FDCPA matters
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If a customer breaks merchandise in a retail store can they be made to pay for that item

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If a customer breaks merchandise in a retail store can they be made to pay for that item?
Would you like to give me more details, please?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

I was tending to a customer at checkout when another customer in the store knocked five birdhouses off one shelf and two from another. Luckily only one broke. The birdhouse that was broken cost $20.00 wholesale. A friend that was with her said her hair got tangled up in the birdhouses. I find that hard to believe since they sit on a shelf that is a little over 5' tall and the Birdhouse sat dead center of the shelf. . If all of the ones that were knocked off had broken I would have been out around $100.00. I realize that amount is not earth shattering but she didn't offer to pay for the damage nor did she offer to help clean up the mess. I want to put a sign in the store stating if you break it you buy it, can that be enforced? I was told I can't make a customer pay for something they broke. Thank you. Karen

Well, it looks like you actually have two questions. Therefore, to clarify, are you the owner? If you are indeed the owner, who is it that told you that you could not make a customer pay for broken items?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Yes, I am the owner and it was an aquaintance who has worked retail. I am a person that tries to follow all the rules and therefore will not put a sign in my store that has false information. Although I may have made it sound like two questions, it is in fact one.


If I put a sign in my store stating if you break it you buy it, can I legally enforce that rule?


Thank you,


Yes, you can legally enforce that rule. Of course, customers might not always be willing to chalk up the money but you are totally in your right to post such a sign.

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