EECB Stops Improper Searches At New Mexico Walmart

Reader T launched an Executive Email Carpet Bomb on Walmart because he was concerned about some improper receipt checks and searches going on:

Yesterday I sent an e-mail bomb to several executives at Walmart. The concern was that the store was requiring you to provide your receipt upon leaving the store (as in Sam’s club, but at Walmart). As we all know, this is a hot topic issue, and I expected Walmart to ignore my e-mails. But to my surprise, after writing my e-mail on Sunday afternoon, I got a reply shortly after 8am! Here is my letter —

Dear Wal-Mart Executive –

*In reference to your store located in Las Vegas, New Mexico, please be advised that the employees are illegally searching, seizing and detaining customers without cause. *

As a frequent visitor to this store, as well as a investor in Wal-mart, I write this letter to share my concerns that are being dismissed by the store level management. Calls to the regional manager have been fruitless, as have calls to your 1-800 phone number.

The issue of my concern is that this store has begun to require that customers show their receipt upon exit of the store, and if you do not, they will detain you from leaving, or at a minimum, yell at the customer for not showing their receipt. Both occur on a daily basis.

As you are aware, some of your membership stores, such as Sam’s Club, has clauses in the contract that the buyer signs when a membership is bought that allows for this activity. This is not the case at a Wal-Mart store.

I am sure you are familiar with many story’s and resulting law suits of various stores that have also attempted to implement this policy (I would refer you to the website – ../../../..// for further information on this issue) that have caused not only poor relations, but large law suits that favor the defendant.

I respectfully request that this practice stops immediately. We have a Constitutional right to freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, and therefore we can’t be made to submit to a search without prior consent unless a police officer has a reasonable cause to search. A private individual can’t force you to do so, either — touching you is assault, and taking something from you without your consent is theft. Both are criminal charges as is detaining someone.

I do realize that store shrinkage is a problem. But as we are both aware, store shrinkage is a problem related to primarily to in store theft by employees. Please put your energy and focus where it needs to be – not the honest customer.

I would appreciate a reply regarding this issue. Thank you. I may be reached via e-mail at the return address of this e-mail, or via phone at 505-XXX-XXXX. Thank you.

—– Then this morning, I got a call from Michael Moore, Executive Sr. Vice President. He stated that he would talk to his sales people and see what could be done. He also offered me a gift card for my time. After work today, I stopped at Walmart…and they were no longer checking receipts….one of the employees stated that they no longer were supposed to do that!

Way to go Consumerist! Your tips and advice were great!

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