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Store Bag Searches and My Rights in Canberra?

By bguy - 28 February 2012 62

Today after while leaving Supabarn I was approached by a security guard who asked to look in my bag. I agreed and opened the bag. He spotted a packet of seeds that I had bought from another store and tried to take them. I withdrew my bag and asked him if he was sure he was allowed to touch my things.  I then showed him the relevant receipt and he was satisfied. While I was walking away he told me that he was allowed to touch “merchandise”.

I’m pretty sure that he doesn’t have any right to touch anything in my bag, and I have no obligation so submit to the search.

Can anyone help clear this up for me?

What’s Your opinion?

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62 Responses to
Store Bag Searches and My Rights in Canberra?
schmeah 11:09 am 28 Feb 12

This so called ‘policy’ is why I have come to refuse to enter certain stores, espcially Big-W and Target. Although, I’ve since been back to Target as it seems easier to simply ignore their door stooges.

I can’t stand the thought of a pimply teenager peering at my personal belongings just because they are told to .. not because they have a reason to believe I’ve lifted something. It’s invasive.

I don’t know what is worse/better; unneccesary bag searches or having people follow you around a store. I think I’d rather the latter because I don’t actually steal, so they can follow me all they want.

Alderney 10:56 am 28 Feb 12

Russ said :

bearlikesbeer 10:42 am 28 Feb 12

Orangegirl is spot on.

I brought this up on RA back in 2008. If I remember correctly, the general consensus amongst Rioters was anyone who refuses a bag check or makes a big deal out of it is a bit of a tool. I’m still being a bit of a tool.

Erg0 10:37 am 28 Feb 12

Russ said :

affordable 10:34 am 28 Feb 12

with all these rights no wonder their is unabated crime, seen 2 cases people walk in run out with goods unpaid, shop assistants powerless to do anything, good to see the community doing their best to prevent crime with RIGHTS that only the guilty need to use

Jivrashia 10:14 am 28 Feb 12

PBO said :

When a store says that they “Reserve the right” to search bags you can be sure that this is quite wrong.

Because it’s wrong I could have sworn that they’ve changed that to:
It is a condition of entry to this store that you present your bag for inspection upon request

The only problem is that that “condition of entry” sign is located within the store and is viewable only after you have entered. A condition that is enforced on your without your consent I guess?

orangegirl 10:04 am 28 Feb 12

All customers enter the premises on a licence, on which the retailer can impose conditions. It is the same as visiting a private home with a ‘condition of entry’ of no shoes on the carpet.

A person searching is not allowed to touch your belongings but may ask you to move things so they can see. You can always refuse a bag search. If you do, the retailer has the right to ask you to leave the store and not return. If the retailer is certain that a person is concealing shoplifted items they may request to search bags or parcels; however, if you are forcibly searched or detained but have not committed an offence you can make a complaint to the police.

NSW Fair Trading has some more information here–_guidelines_for_checking_of_bags_and_parcels_in_stores

mooo_cow 10:02 am 28 Feb 12
Russ 10:01 am 28 Feb 12

mooo_cow 9:59 am 28 Feb 12
shirty_bear 9:57 am 28 Feb 12

Some years ago (probably 10), I was told categorically by a lawyer friend that store staff have no right to inspect bags unless they have belief (i.e. actual evidence) that you’ve knicked stuff. Don’t know if that has changed in the meantime, but I’ve heard nought so I doubt it.

I find it intrusive. When they ask to look in my bag/s, I give them a friendly ‘no’ and continue walking.

Erg0 9:16 am 28 Feb 12

Wokie said :

Unless informed otherwise I believe they’re allowed to look if bag is bigger than an A4 sized piece of paper but not touch the contents.

Unless it differs here from elsewhere, I believe it’s the other way around: they have no right to search you or your bag unless they inform you, in advance, that it’s a condition of your entry to the premises. This is why you see signs at the entrance of stores that are (attempting) to do the right thing.

PBO 9:04 am 28 Feb 12

I think that you will find that it is not a legal requirement, just a store policy so you can refuse and they can call the police. However, if you havent stolen anything and they had no reasonable reason to suspect that you did, there could be issues with false or wrongful imprisonment. When a store says that they “Reserve the right” to search bags you can be sure that this is quite wrong.

JazzyJess 8:58 am 28 Feb 12

If you’re unhappy about the Security Guard’s conduct I’d make a formal complaint to Supabarn or centre management (depending on who employs the secutiry team).

Wokie 8:53 am 28 Feb 12

Unless informed otherwise I believe they’re allowed to look if bag is bigger than an A4 sized piece of paper but not touch the contents.

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