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  • Ellen Sakany

Yes. You DO Want Your Receipt!

Lately I've noticed a disconcerting trend at retail stores, grocers, and restaurants. It now seems pretty customary to be asked, "Do you want your receipt?" It seems like a relatively innocuous request. We all are - hopefully - mindful of the amount of trash overflowing at our landfills and elsewhere. But, from a legal perspective, its much better to recycle your receipt later than to turn it down at a store. There are a number of reasons why refusing your receipt may harm you later:

1. From a purely practical standpoint, the item you purchased may be defective or unsatisfactory. You will likely not get your money back without a receipt. Also, you are much safer walking out of a store with your items if you have your receipt. You can't be charged with shoplifting if you have proof of your purchase. 2. If you buy food that makes you sick or breaks your tooth, your receipt will prove that you purchased it and when. I had a client who bit down on a foreign metal object in her rice from a Chinese restaurant. It severely cracked her tooth. Because she had her receipt, we were able to sue the restaurant and recover her medical costs plus more for her pain and suffering. We have all heard the horror stories of tainted meat and food causing serious injury. A receipt is crucial to prove your case. 3. An item may be defective and cause injury. Let's say you bought a hairdryer that caught fire and did some damage. Having proof of where and when it was purchased will help you in the event you bring a products liability case. Typically, the manufacturer and the seller are legally responsible for defective products. Having a receipt will also help you defend against a negligence case if you are ever sued. 4. If you ever get arrested for DUI, your receipt may help you with your case. If you were at a restaurant, your receipt may be evidence of how much you drank and ate and, approximately, when. If you can produce a receipt that shows you ate a lot and drank only a small amount over several hours before your arrest, it may help you. Always consult an attorney before turning any evidence over to a prosecutor. 5. In the event of the loss of your property due to theft or fire, proving your ownership is easier with a receipt. Keep your receipts for purchases in a safe place in case you have to make an insurance claim. Scanning and uploading them to a cloud storage is optimal. For the same reason, it's also a good idea to videotape the contents of your home and upload it. 6. A receipt is proof of where you were or were not at a certain time. It may help you if you were wrongly accused of being somewhere that might put you in legal jeopardy. 7. Most electronics and consumer products come with a warranty. Keeping your receipt will be proof to the manufacturer of your ownership of the item and the remaining duration of your warranty. 8. If you don't have your receipt, your credit card statement will provide proof of purchase, but will often lack the details that could prove crucial in many legal scenarios. 9. Many items you purchase may be tax deductible or qualify as a business expenses. Your receipts are necessary for tax preparation and to be reimbursed by an employer. 10. If you live in a big city and travel in taxis, a receipt is invaluable to track down items you may have left in the cab.

If you have taken the time to read this article, you are already savvy and conscientious. You can probably deduce why a retailer or restaurant may prefer you don't have a receipt. But, you now know better!

If you need further clarification on the issues raised in this article, we are available to help you. Contact us at (720) 441-2792 or

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