Assembly Bill’s Paper Receipt Rules Present Challenges to Deterring Retail Theft

paper receipt A problematic Assembly bill that imposes onerous rules on the use of paper receipts will be acted upon in the Senate Appropriations Committee when legislators return from summer recess later this month.

The California Chamber of Commerce has taken an “oppose unless amended” position on the bill.

The bill, AB 1347 (Ting; D-San Francisco), is the author’s third attempt to prohibit any person or entity from printing a paper receipt in California unless expressly asked for by the consumer regardless of whether that entity has that technological capability or uses the paper receipt to prevent retail theft. Further, the bill bans BPA thermal paper by 2024 and BPS thermal paper by 2025.

The CalChamber is concerned that AB 1347 forces businesses to provide consumers with the option not to get a receipt even when many businesses utilize paper receipts upon exit to decrease theft. A growing number of businesses now require checking receipts as consumers exit their stores to help stymie growing retail theft — a problem that increases consumer good costs on all consumers.

Ultimately, this provision not only prevents non-member-based retailers from utilizing paper receipts to deter retail theft, but also greatly complicates retail returns and creates challenges for completing transactions in full-service restaurant settings by slowing queue lines.

Many retailers offer generous return policies with a receipt. By allowing consumers to opt-out, the bill will cause logistical challenges for those customers who pay in cash, opt for no receipt, and then wish to return a product.

The CalChamber is urging legislators to amend AB 1347 so that the above provision is eliminated. The CalChamber already proposed amendments that would align banning BPA/BPS thermal paper by the dates articulated in the bill, which is when adequate supplies of BPA- and BPS-free paper will be available, so long as the “opt-out” provision is removed.

“Without these amendments, this bill is detrimental to consumers, difficult for businesses to comply with and will exacerbate retail theft in California,” the CalChamber said.

Staff Contact: Adam Regele

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Adam Regele was named vice president of advocacy and strategic partnerships in March 2023. He joined the CalChamber in April 2018 as a policy advocate specializing in environmental policy, housing and land use, and product regulation issues. He was named a senior policy advocate in April 2021 in recognition of his efforts on behalf of members. Regele came to CalChamber after practicing law at Oakland-based Meyers, Nave, Riback, Silver & Wilson, PLC, where he advised private and public clients on complex projects involving land use and environmental laws and regulations at the local, state and federal levels. Before entering private practice, Regele served as a federal judicial law clerk to the Honorable Edward J. Davila of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. Regele earned a B.S. in environmental science at the University of California, Berkeley, and a J.D. from UC Hastings College of Law, where he was symposium editor and research and development editor for the Hastings West-Northwest Journal. See full bio