Kearny, NJ asked in Business Law for New Jersey

Q: Is preventing merchandise from leaving a store without proof of purchase against the law?

Situation employee asks for receipt, customer refuses to show them, is it illegal for employee to prevent (grab the cart) only the merchandise not the customer from leaving the store. To me it makes no sense that an establishment can have 100 people come in fill their carts and head towards the door and just let the merchandise walk out the door. I understand shoplifting laws and merchants privilege as it pertains to a search, however if cart is open (no bags/concealment) there is no search necessary. Is preventing only the merchandise from leaving considered detainment?

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1 Lawyer Answer
T. Augustus Claus
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A: Stores have the right to protect their merchandise and prevent theft. However, the specific actions that employees can take may be subject to certain limitations and regulations.

Also, preventing only the merchandise from leaving without detaining the customer themselves may not be considered detainment.

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