A Portland, Oregon man is suing Costco, the giant warehouse shopping club, for allegedly breaking his leg when he failed to show them his receipt for the $103-dollars of merchandise he had purchased.
Timothy Walls is suing for $670-thousand dollars, alleging that two Costco employees attacked him. He alleges that one of the two employees yanked his shopping cart away from him, and after words were exchanged, Walls grabbed the worker by the collar. That’s when a second worker used a martial arts type kick with his leg; Walls leg was broken in three places according to his lawsuit.
So what exactly is Costco’s policy? The retail giant’s policy says, “To ensure all members are charged correctly for the merchandise purchased, all receipts and merchandise will be inspected as you leave the warehouse.”
There is a difference of opinion as to where the altercation took place; Costco says it was in the store where the checkers are located. Walls, however, says that the attack happened outside the store, in the breezeway.
In a motion filed by Costco, they maintain that Walls’ injuries are his own fault because he is the one who attacked the employees.
Walls’ attorney, Bill Stockton, says that his client was not stealing, so the Costco employees had no right to take hold of his merchandise. He posits that the consequences for failing to show your receipt should be cancellation of the membership, not detainment.
The issue may become an even bigger one as other stores, like Costco begin checking receipts at the door. Some customers have declared the stops unreasonable and a violation of their privacy rights stemming from laws based on the Fourth Amendment.
Stockton asks a pertinent question, “The central issue in the case is…’ What can Costco lawfully do?’ Can they actually stop you and take your property from you?”
What do you think? And do you agree with Costco’s policy?