Supermarket Receipts

According to Queensland law, business’, “…must give a consumer a receipt or proof of transaction for goods or service that cost $75 or more.”

Checkout staff at an IGA Supermarket I have to shop at (the nearest other supermarket is an 80k round trip) always ask if I want a receipt. They do this even if the bill equals or exceeds $75. So obviously they don’t know the law as quoted above. Also, the receipts they provide are often illegible, and therefore useless if I need to return an item or to enable me to check that the prices are correct, and also when I buy multiple items of the same product that they have not added more than I placed on the conveyor, which has also happened.

When I recently complained that the receipt was unreadable I was told, “that’s the best I can do.” I informed them that it was not good enough and required a legible receipt. Eventually a supervisor provided me with a printout from their office computer. All this took perhaps 15 to 20 minutes.

It’s useless complaining at the local store as they just don’t care. If I lodge a complaint at the IGA website, that complaint is routed to the local store, "As our stores are independently owned…)

The experience is annoying and frustrating.

Hi @AnnoyedConsumer, welcome to the community.

The ACCC website provides some general information on issuing of tax invoices and proof of purchase…

Whilst a business ‘must’ give a receipt, a consumer isn’t obliged to accept one. Many business have realised that most consumers don’t want a receipt for most purchases, and now ask the consumer/their customer if they want one.

While the ACCC website states ‘must’, offering a receipt/tax invoice, many businesses check the customer wants one rather than creating waste by printing one off and trying to make the customer take it, even though they don’t want one and as a result become litter etc. I personally think asking whether one wishes to have a tax invoice is a good thing to reduce waste and use of resources.

Notwithstanding this, it is worth noting the ACCC states Businesses must always give you a receipt (or similar proof of purchase) for anything over $75. Types of proof of purchase are also outlined on the ACCC website. If one pays by card, they will automatically receive proof of purchase. A business in such case meets their obligations. In such case, a business may not be obliged to issue a receipt unless a customer needs one, say for claiming GST credits associated with running a business.

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If asked whether I want a receipt, I always say yes.
If receipt not offered, I ask for one.
If receipt not legible, I demand one that is.

Pretty simple three rules.

Nothing to do with any ACL or state requirements, just holding businesses to basic functions they all can and should do.

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While ACCC states “over $75” , QLD Gov states “$75 or more”. The store is in QLD so I feel the QLD law should apply.

Stores may not be obliged to issue a receipt if a customer pays by card, but if you get overcharged for an item you have no way of knowing because your card transaction record does not include an itemised list of products bought. I once bought a fresh food product and upon checking my receipt discovered they had charged at $60 per kilo rather than $6 per kilo. This particular store often makes pricing errors, always in their favour of course.

Without a legible receipt you have no way of knowing if the checkout operator has applied the pensioner discount after you have shown them your seniors card. Several times I’ve immediately checked my receipt and found no discount has been applied. The discount may be only a dollar or so, but IGA offers said discount so it should be honored.

Customers have a legal right to request and be supplied with a receipt. If the receipt is illegible it’s useless. Making a customer wait 20 minutes while a legible receipt is printed out via the office computer is just unreasonable.

The QLD information is an interpretation of that under the Australian Consumer Law (this is confirmed on the Qld Government website). The ACL applies throughout Australia, and even if Queensland had it own law, the ACL would apply where there are any inconsistencies between the commonwealth and state laws.

The information provided in the previous post applies in Queensland, along with all other states.

Yes they do, and is explicit as outlined on the ACCC website and under the Australian Consumer Law.

Many receipts can be challenging to read as they present a significant amount of information in a very small area. Their legibility can be compounded when they are printed onto thermal paper, on poorly maintained docket printers or on poor quality paper…or one’s eyesight isn’t all that good.

It is worth noting that some supermarkets loyalty rewards programs offer electronic receipts/list of products purchased and their prices through their online platforms. This is useful when making a claim under the ACL as it is a good way to store purchases made. One of the advantages of being part of a loyalty program.

Most supermarkets now have screen facing the customer so they can check pricing as it is scanned, check that loyalty or discounts have been applied etc at the point of sale. We do this and it makes checking easy compared to trying to scan a receipt with abbreviated product descriptions and small font. We however take a receipt either for end of month account reconciliations (personal choice) or Business Activity Statement/Tax purposes.

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The following may be of assistance.
Direct from the ACCC web resources.

I’d ask if the points being discussed are in context. My understanding of the use of a credit card record is as an alternate form of proof of purchase does not excuse a business from providing in addition to a receipt, itemised bill/invoice if requested or required by legislation. It’s very clear customers have a right to a receipt and the details as listed. True there are 7 day windows attached. Likely more inconvenient for a retailer to meet after the purchase than at the time of purchase.

The wording “an itemised account must show” and “the receipt must include” are self explanatory. If the document is illegible does it comply with the requirements listed? One answer most likely.

Unfortunately there is no similar requirement for durability of the document, hence the ongoing issues of thermal printed dockets.

That’s not the case, see the link to the Lawpath link in my previous post, namely,

According to section 100 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, your business is required to provide customers with a receipt or proof of purchase for any purchase that is over $75 (excluding GST).

There is no obligation to provide both for purchases over $75. If a proof of purchase is provided, a business could choose whether or not to provide an itemised receipt. A business should provide a receipt/tax invoice if asked…and should. A tax invoice is needed for tax reporting purposes as other forms of proof of purchase won’t suffice. The ATO is very clear on what tax record keeping requirements are.

What is also interesting is section 100 the Act only refers to ‘proof of purchase’ and not receipt or tax invoice. This supports the information on the LawPath website and information provided by the ACCC. The ACCC may have included the term receipt (tax invoice) as historically this is traditional/widespread standard method businesses use when issuing a proof of purchase.

The issue of what need to be provided and when it needs to be provided is greatly confused by the some inaccurate reporting of the legislation on various websites.

The legislative reference is Section 100 of Schedule 2 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (see below).

Some points of relevance are:

  1. A supplier must provide proof of a transaction if the total price (excluding GST) is $75 or more.
  2. Whilst a credit card statement is listed as an example of proof of a transaction, it would only be so if it included all the required details, see subsection 100(4) below.

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It may not be inaccurate as there is likely to be case law which outlines the minimum requirements for a proof of transaction. It is possible that a ‘looser’ interpretation has occurred when a business has refused to acknowledge consumer rights because the consumer didn’t have a full receipt with every detail.

It is widely accepted what forms a proof of purchase under the ACL…and are given as examples in the ACL (including the extract posted above). These are outlined on the ACCC website and business are obligated to accept these other forms.

It is also worth noting that section 101 gives a consumer a right to request an itemised receipt. And itemised receipt is different to a proof of purchase under the Act.

Thank you @Glenn61.

I’ve encountered several business pushing a digital copy. I’ve not encountered any not including a detailed itemised account of the items supplied and how the total payment required was determined. Whether this is included on a single docket at the register or across several documents, one of which may be an invoice they all provide full details.

P.S.
True that for claiming warranty a CC statement may be sufficient evidence of a purchase. It’s not exclusive. Is it reasonable to suggest Section 100 was not written for the sole purpose of establishing consumer warranty entitlements? It serves other needs!

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I think that you are confusing two separate events. My reference relates to the obligations of the supplier at the time of sale. Your comment relates to the acceptable forms of proof when the buyer has an issue with the good or service supplied.

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No I am not. The Act provides examples of a proof of transaction is and which includes…

If a supplier is required to provide proof of supplies and only issues a document which does not meet he requirements of subsection 100(4), they are in breach of the Act. If the buyer has an issue with the goods or services, the document they provide to prove the transaction might not need to include all of those details.

Please read the Act and examples of proof of transaction. The Act explicitly states examples of proof of transaction which are taken to comply under the Act. This includes the list in my previous post and the extract you also included earlier.

If these examples didn’t comply, the Act would not present them as examples.

The ACCC has also presented this list as proof of purchase (transaction) on their website.

A credit card or debit card statement is sufficient under the Act as a proof of transaction.

Itemised receipts as originally posted could be used as a form of proof of transaction (see (c))…but isn’t the only form available. Under s101, consumers have a right to request an itemised receipt in addition to a proof of transaction.

I have. Whilst you might be happy to ignore the legislated definition of what the document is required to include, the Government and legal decision makers are unlikely to share your view.

May I ask a different question?

Are you saying a retailer EG Woolworths can refuse to provide an itemised bill/docket when requested by a consumer? IE the total appearing on my CC statement and hopefully correct store details, date of sale approximate is all a consumer is legally entitled to. I doubt that is correct, or would hope it is not. Observed practice supports one response.

I’m more than confused.
It still appears there are two different questions being responded to.

  1. What is a consumer entitled to at the checkout or shortly there after?
  2. What is acceptable proof of purchase for a warranty claim in accordance with ACL?

Likely something that needs a more considered response.

I don’t see a rush by retailers etc to not provided itemised dockets or receipts even if they are supplied as a digital record.

I might be missing something but the requirements of issuing a tax invoice. Colesworths dockets (and I presume IGAs) are tax invoices.

For sales of less than $1,000 (including GST), your tax invoices must include:

- a brief list of the items sold, including quantity and price

Sales over $1,000 can use the same ‘rules’ as for lesser amounts but can be more glib regarding line items. For example a kitchen reno does not need to line item each bit of work and each item.

Our F&V shops and butchers generally hand out card transactions as their default but will always provide a tax invoice if asked.

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What has any of this got to do with simply getting a receipt at the supermarket?

A standard function of any point of sale system. And having a receipt printer that works?

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Re my response, they are obligated to provide one.

The ATO might be the most interested party for a complaint.

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Yes, by having a receipt printer that works.

By all means lodge a complaint with the ATO for a business that has a dodgy receipt printer. Some people may be so inclined I suppose.