Bag Check Right of The Store

My partner and I were shopping earlier today. She was visiting $2 type shop and I was buying some shirts 10 stores away. She didn't buy anything from this store and when me outside shirt shop, $2 shop staff came running and demanded to check the bags.

She happily assisted and obviously nothing was found, however I wasn't happy with the experience. My partner also felt quite embarrassed as lot of people walking past stared at us as if we were theives. No apology was offered by staff.

I completely understand the stores need to check bag upon exit, however does it apply if the customer is about 30 to 40 meters away?

Where does the store authority stop?

Poll Options

  • 11
    Store can do it
  • 88
    Store staff was wrong
  • 18
    I am overthinking


  • They can only ask to check your bags within the store, outside of the store you are within your rights to refuse.

    • This ^ if you’re not on their property then they cannot request to check your bags. In a case like that it’s no different to a random stranger asking to check your bags (unlawful).

      • Wrong. They can never check your bags without your consent. They can ask. You can say no. They can ban you if you say no.

        • Yeah but remember, it's more effort if you say no. They call the police then on suspicion and you deal with cops. Sometimes it's easier to just show them and allow everyone to continue on with their day.

      • Nah, nobody has a right to go through your shit, but then again everyone should try to not be a dick.

        If the shop are polite about it, I have no issue!

  • They should have apologised, but I assume alot of stuff gets stolen. It's hard enough for these shops to survive. No biggy if it happened to me. On a side note someone stole some money from me and I caught up with them in the $2 shop. They denied it. I later found out on CCTV cam they did take it, but long gone.

    • I find it super odd, but there's a 2 dollar like shop near me, and in my 2 years where I am I've outright witnessed someone stealing from the shop twice (teens). I have no idea why they go for them.

  • In Qld stores are not able to check your bag unless you agree - inside the store or outside the store. If you refuse, they can only ask you to leave the store and not re-enter until you agree to their conditions of entry, which must be displayed on a sign at the store entrance.

  • +13 votes

    Does it happen consistently? No.
    Was there harm done? No.
    Forget it and move on. Don't be a Karen.

  • They can put it as a condition of entry in their store.
    Upon leaving, they can ask and you can still refuse. But if you refuse, they can ban you from their store.

    • Yes I understand this aspect and it's clearly defined on Fair Trading Website. My concern is their authority to check bags when they are no longer inside the shop. I couldn't find anything relevant via Google search and hence I made this post.

      • They can ask, but they can't do anything if you refuse. If they suspect you of stealing, then they can detain you (but they better be damn sure that you've stolen something, otherwise it opens them up for all sorts of legal problems) or call the cops.

        Most people just show them anyway rather than cause a fuss.

        • I don't believe they can actually detain you. I've known security guards in stores like Myers and David Jones and they've admitted they can't grab someone and stop them leaving the store.

          They have to block the way with their bodies and use tactics that suggest they can physically stop you ("We know you stole, we have it on camera. You NEED to come with us now), but if you carry on walking they just follow you until police catch up.

          Maybe they could use a form of citizens arrest, but I don't know the policy around that.

          • @dizzle: It is the citizen's arrest. Security guards don't have any additional arrest powers. Hence the reason they better be sure you have actually stolen something, otherwise they open themselves (and the store they work for) up to being sued. Most guards err on the side of caution and just won't detain a suspected thief.

      • Look if you were just the staff nember and thought someone had taken something. Better to say to your boss you at least chased the person down and checked. Than being caught looking at your phone all day. No harm done. No one that saw your partner probably knows her. Don't over think it. Are you going to complain to the store owner. Why. Move on. There are bigger things to deal with.

        • It's within our rights to refuse, but often it's not even worth the fuss to say no. The retail workers have a tough job as it is.

  • From NSW Fair Trading

    Bag checks are voluntary. Retailers can only conduct a bag check if you agree. However, if you refuse to allow a check, you may be asked to leave the shop and not return until you agree to a bag check.

    Guidelines don't really go into much more detail.

  • Lots of thieves. I don't blame them being paranoid. I work with lots of businesses and the theft levels are very high these days in that kind of retailer, it's as if people think shoplifting is a victimless crime as long as it's a 'cheap' item.

    And generally cops just don't care, too many cases.

  • Are you mainly offended that they thought you looked like someone who would go to the $2 store to steal?

  • however does it apply if the customer is about 30 to 40 meters away?

    30 to 40 meters is excellent social distancing, very commendable effort by the store.

    I'd let them check my bags while they're anywhere from 1.5m and greater away.

  • Would you rather they had you arrested on suspicion of stealing and detained you until police arrived?

  • I work in a big store when I asked to checked bags I was abused even though they are regular shoplifter. Security did nothing but just stare. The ban never really work as only a few staffs know the ban. So you can walk away nobody can stop you.

  • It’s nothing personal when you are asked to have your bags checked it’s the minority who stuff it up for the majority of people who do the right thing you would be amazed to what lengths people go to pinch things that ain’t worth a lot of money.

  • I think chasing you down was wrong but being asked to check at the store door is OK.

    If I was feeling like being a dick I would’ve been tempted to put down a hanky and start pulling things out of my bag, one at a time, and itemising everything in it. You could, also, give them the backstory on why you have each item. If your missus is anything like the rest of us females she would have a few “sanitary” products that should kick up the embarrassment of the store employee.

    However, what is more concerning is why, in this COVID era, the shop assistants are actually going through people’s bags. What happened to social distancing and hygiene?

    • They are not allowed to touch. They can only "look" in the bag.

      • So they can see into my bag from 1.5m? Good luck to them on seeing anything in that.

        We went through a few American airports after 911 happened and the security queues were horrific. However, even though the queues were long the actual checks were cursory. We figured if you put the bomb under your wind cheater you could, probably, smuggle one on. :)

  • I was shopping with a guy and purchased my stuff and then when he got to the car he pulled out some cheap $2 tap connector he stole and I felt like I was used as an unwitting accomplice. Maybe check your wife's handbag and bags yourself in case you were used in the same way.

    • Probably a real shoplifter said to the staff ‘that woman stole something’ in order to divert attention.

  • A bag check request is ok as you are leaving the store. You can still refuse if you really insist. But, chasing you out of the store is a no no. I would have told them to shove it.