Refusing inspection when leaving Bunnings

I picked up a special order at Bunnings today.Beside the service being poor and mildly off I picked up the goods.
These goods were in a sealed pack with a paid bunnings invoice. At the door a person took my goods to “check them.” I note KMart and JB Hi Fi sell you goods in the middle of the shop and want to check them at the door too.
In this case the goods were paid for when I placed the order. This was my property. The same applies anywhere else.

Shops can charge for the goods wherever they like but once payment is accepted the transfer of ownership occurs. In future I will not allow this inspection.


The inspection will be the conditions of entry into the retail store. Entering to shop means that you have accepted these conditions and therefore accept confirmation at departure, that the goods in your possession have been purchased.

Stores also have the right to inspect bags/boxes leaving the store to ensure that they contain no unpaid items.

If you fail to accept these conditions and allow the payment verification, it may cause more problems than it is worth (this could result in exclusiom from future entry into the store, police being called ss they may suspect shoplifting has occurred, excorted from the premises by security which could be rather embarrassing etc).

The Queensland Government has also prepared the following information to remove any doubt in relation to the legality of bag inspections (which also covers proof of purchase requests) when leaving a store.


If stores display signs advising of bag checking you must comply if you continue to enter the store. The only time you can refuse is if you could not have reasonably expected a bag inspection (which you obviously are expecting at this point)


When one enters commercial premises, the businesses gives you a license to do so. In return, you are expected to comply with the conditions they display at the entries.

I was in a Bunnings store a few years ago and observed two women in their twenties pushing a large Bunnings trolley through an attended checkout.

They had 3 very large toolboxes on the trolley, stacked one on top the each other.

To my absolute amazement, the staff member did not bother to inspect any of the toolboxes to see if there were any other items stored inside.

They could have been filled with power tools.


Hi @tcollo, how is being inspected at Bunnings any different to being inspected at JB Hi-Fi? Both have paid goods leaving the store, both check for shoplifting. I don’t see where this significant difference is.


Seems as if you’re trying to draw attention to yourself. That doesn’t make sense to me. Just take as little as convenient into the shop - if you’ve only got one package, with invoice attached, it can’t be much of an imposition.

Remember that the system is designed to keep prices down (or profits up) and may benefit you in the long run. You’ll have better prices or a business that is still there when you look to exercise your consumer guarantees.


The point is really simple. Have the payment counter at the door. No shoplifters, no second tier of security and no hassles. Putting the payment counter in the middle of the store is redundant. Staff to take your money, staff to check if you paid and a hindrance to flow.


Our local Bunnings has a ‘door greeter’. On exit I see many customers going up to them to get their receipt ‘ticked off’. I never have, product and receipt in hand or empty handed, been approached to do so nor stopped.

Curious, that.

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It is, isn’t it. Part of the the role is obviously to give people entering a warm and fuzzy and to direct them to the right place. This is part of the plot for staff to give you a warm personal greeting at every aisle.

I think the role in security is a little more subtle. You will find that many retailers use wrapping as part of their anti-shoplifting strategy. A wrapped parcel is prima facie paid for and unwrapped needs checking. Bunnings doesn’t wrap but they don’t check everything either. I have tried to get the greeter’s attention as I left and they will look at your docket if you push it in front of them but if they are in mid greet with another punter this is most perfunctory.

My feeling is that they are there to be a visible sign of security, to inhibit shoplifting by the armload, but they are instructed to keep the warm and fuzzy vibe going and to not demand to see dockets except in the most egregious cases. It seems they recognise that a petty thief with enough chutzpah will get past the greeter unchecked but accept this as a cost of doing business for the sake of low security overheads and warm public relations.


Bunnings might have the balance right :slight_smile:


One change that I have noticed is the security procedures at Coles.

Some years ago, one would hear the PA announcements such as “Security staff to section?” but I have not heard this in ages.

They had the CCTV back then as they do now to observe dishonest behaviour, and presumably they still intercept shoplifters, but it is obviously done much more subtly these days.

They do, as well as have them in store particular in areas of small high value items where shoplifting risk is high (power tools and accessories).

Bunnings uses the standard one exit/entry approach that many other retailers also use (Myer, Harvey Norman, Good Guys, Kmart, Officeworks etc).

The ones which are different are supermarkets which siphon everyone through the checkouts (serviced or not) and Masters (when they existed) which had separate entry and exits.

Even if all the checkouts were at the entrance/exit at Bunnings, (unless everyone was siphoned through these checkouts and potentially subject to bag searches anyway like other retailers), there most likely would be someone at the door validating purchases made for items leaving the store.

The problem with siphoning everyone through the checkouts at a store like Bunnings is it is very disruptive when a person not buying something tries to squeeze through the checkout line, interrupting the current sale transaction so bags/what this person is carrying can be checked.

I would prefer the status quo rather than trying to ‘climb’ through a checkout line at Bunnings. I also expect that their safety and legal team would have concerns about customers pushing through potentially dangerous materials handled and trolleyed waiting in line.

We know what they were like with a very low risk/incident onion slip.


Being a little precious aren’t we?

You enter their store to get goods to solve your problem, so you abide by their rules.

If you aren’t stealing you have no reason to adopt this attitude.


If the toolboxes were actually filled with power tools, perhaps they even added insult to injury by returning the emptied tool boxes for a refund.


They always seem to check me - you must have ‘the don’t mess with me’ look @PhilT ? :rofl: Though I’ve never been checked coming straight from the registers - only if I’ve paid at the tool shop or the trad counter where the person staffing the entrance to either does not have clear sight to the payment terminal - and as others have addressed, there are good reasons for these other payment locations.

It seems like a no-brainer that a store will want to check a customer has paid for what they are carrying out … I’ve never found it hard to be friendly to these people, nor has it felt like my privacy or human rights have been violated or denied.

Supercheap Auto still do this. It’s quite funny. It’s just a timed recording in between music … like a bird scaring gun, just a deterrent …

KMart I don’t understand. They recently remodelled the store - single entry, then out through checkouts to a one way exit became single entry/exit with a self checkout farm almost at the back of the store and a security guard, not staff member, at the front of the store checking all receipts - all this in a town where petty (and not so petty) theft is rife. Seems rather silly - but again, I remind myself it isn’t the fault of the security guard - bad customer service in one form or another is one thing, but being a bad customer is just as bad. I try not to be that customer, though it’s not always easy …


I’ve not thought too long about the legal implications around customer checks on exiting a store, whether Bunnings or elsewhere. I must often look guilty although I’m probably just worried about having a pen in my bag, or a spare battery for the headphones both of which I purchase last month and not having a receipt for it? It’s just part of the shopping routine.

One of our family has worked for Bunnings and for Hervey Norman, as have friends. Regardless of the store and business it doesn’t matter whether we know the person at the exit check point or not. Being polite and helping them to do what they have been asked seems to make the day that little bit more worthwhile.


NSW Fair TRading have some info online about this:

If you have not taken anything and you are forcibly detained, that is unlawful arrest. However, it maintains goodwill all 'round if you are nice about it and just open your bag.

I must admit that, if I am in a hurry, I just smile and refuse and keep walking. To lawfully arrest someone, unless you are a police officer or special constable, you must see the theft take place and observe the person continuously until you confront and detain them.

It’s a gnarly area, legally, so it’s nicer to just help the poor folks get on with their job, if they carry it out responsibly. :slight_smile:


I should qualify that although I’m a CHOICE staff member, I am not a legal expert so please seek out someone who really knows what they are talking about. :slight_smile:


… it’s only unlawful arrest if their attempt to ‘forcibly detain’ is non-threatening to the customers personal safety and/or they are successful in forcibly detaining them. :wink:

It’s something you could imagine getting bad quickly - false accusation against a customer who is then ‘physically attacked’ for want of a better term. As a staff member or security guard, you’d want to be damn sure saving the Snickers bar in their back pocket was worth the reconstructive surgery … being grabbed by someone would tend to set the tone for subsequent events, even for a normally calm customer - imagine if you pick the angry nutcase :mask::mask::mask: !


Yes, they have a coded PA call that staff know to attend to but customers just think is a usual call