Have you ever noticed that the greeter who welcomes you with open arms as you enter the store does a complete transformation, morphing into the store's gatekeeper as you try to leave?

But do Michigan shoppers legally have to stop and show their receipts to store personnel as they head for the exit?

The short answer is "No," but it's complicated.

Shopkeeper's Privilege in Michigan

The majority of US states - including Michigan - have a law called Shopkeeper's Privilege. The rules vary from state to state, but Shopkeeper's Privilege generally allows stores to detain customers temporarily - if there is a reasonable belief that shoplifting has occurred.

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According to the Michigan-based law firm George Law, someone who restrains you is violating your rights. But in a retail setting, if there is a reasonable belief that someone has committed retail fraud, Shopkeeper's Privilege gives stores the right to retain a suspect.

Can You Legally Refuse to Show Your Receipt?

Customers generally have the right to refuse to show their receipt in a public store such as Walmart, Meijer, Kroger, and Home Depot.

However, this creates a sort of catch-22.

According to Cooley law professor Tonya Krause-Phelan, doing so actually gives stores a reason to believe you're shoplifting - thereby creating a reason to detain you.

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What About Sam's Club and Costco?

If you're shopping at a retailer that requires a membership fee, the rules may vary.

The Costco terms and conditions for membership states: "Costco reserves the right to inspect any container, backpack, briefcase, or other bag, upon entering or leaving the warehouse and to refuse entry to anyone at our discretion."

Sam's Club's membership agreement has a similar clause.

Refusing to show your receipt when exiting the store isn't illegal, but it violates the stores' membership agreements which could result in a member's privileges being revoked.



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