Does anyone know what recourse a person has if falsely accused of shoplifting because a store's anti-theft detection equipment gives a false alert?
Yesterday I walked into a store in Perth carrying a rucksack. I heard a detector buzz as I entered but thought nothing of it at the time and continued with my shopping. No-one else in the store reacted to the buzz either.
I selected and paid for a sunhat and left the store. As I walked up the street someone from the store chased me and said the hat must still have a tag on it because the buzzer went off. I said, "I don't think it is the hat because I heard the buzzer go off when I entered your store" but I also politely agreed to return to the store. There a sales-person checked the hat and found nothing but once again the buzzer sounded when I passed through the detector. Thereupon they demanded that I show them the contents of my rucksack. By this stage I was beginning to feel embarrassed as many other customers were staring at me and my initial politeness gradually turned into anger. I refused and an argument ensued.
They told me it was a condition of entry to their store that I show them the contents of my bag. I told them they got it wrong the first time I first entered the store because the buzzer went off then and they paid no attention to it.
The situation got rather heated but finally I just walked out and continued on my way. Fortunately no-one pursued me again but the whole experience was stressful and embarrassing.
Clearly the store's electronic theft detector was giving a false alert and that should be the store's problem not mine. I donít think I should have to be humiliated and have my privacy invaded in front of other customers because of that.