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chris turner

falsely accused of shoplifting by a well known grocery store

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I recently visited a well known discounted grocery store to purchase a item that I wanted - I had with me a rucksack over my shoulder as the store doesn't give out free carrier bags .

 

The store didn't have the product I wanted so I walked out of the store passed a empty checkout and into the car park . A few seconds later a young female member of staff came running out of the store and placed her hand on my shoulder , I had some earphones in so I took them out to see what she wanted .

She said she wanted to look in my bag as I had stolen something from the store , I protested that I hadn't stolen anything from the store and had the rucksack as the company doesn't give out free carrier bags and that loads of people carry rucksacks in there store . she once again said I had stolen something from the store and demanded to look in my bag .

I refused and said she couldn't as I hadn't stolen anything and the only person who had a right to look in my bag was a policeman and she was more than welcome to call the police and they could search me . she refused to call the police but still demanded to look in my bag and was shouting at me in the middle of the car park outside the store and saying I was a thief in front of customers who was going in and out of the store (unfortunately I knew some of them) , after a while of her shouting at me and calling me a thief and me saying call the police she turned round and went back in the store.

 

I stood in the carpark for a while to calm down and recover myself from the situation . I walked back into the store to talk to a manager of the store to sort out what was going on , I first found the young girl who accused me of shoplifting and asked her if the manger was available to speak to , she said there was no manager or assistant manager and that she was incharge of the store ,

 

I asked if there was a complaint procedure I was told no and that the manager would be back tomorrow and I should speak to them , she then went on to say I had no right to complain as I was in the wrong and we had a few choice words in the store with her still calling me a shoplifter - I was wondering what rights I have and what I can do about this incident

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Hi and welcome to CAG

 

I would write a Formal Complaint to the store manager outlining what happened briefly but clearly.

 

Demand a full written apology. I would ask that if there was any proof of shoplifting, then provide it. You know they can't do that.

 

This young person obviously has no idea what protocols to follow after suspicion of shoplifting and therefore needs to be re trained.

 

I would also be demanding that the assistant makes a full apology in person.

 

There may even be a case of defamation here by publicly stating the things she did.

 

As you knew some of the people, could you get them to be witnesses for you?


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I have now spoken to the companies head office clearly explaning what has happened , I am expecting a phone call tomorrow from the area manager of the company who is investigating the incident , I have also began to speak to the people I know who witnessed what happened and trying to get them to either write me witness statements that I can give to the company myself or get them to contact head office directly of the company like I have had to and explain to them what has happened

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I hope your complaint was one of false imprisonment and slander. The former can be a criminal offence to which common assault or false arrest can be added. Also point out that the employee misrepresented her powers by saying that she was entitled to search your belongings and that you will take advice regarding suing the company for the civil torts of false imprisonment and slander and depending on their response, lay a criminal complaint about the individual.

I would not accept that a telephone call can result in a satisfactory conclusion to this, it needs to be in writing and from the very top of the structure as they need to be showing they know what is going on at the lower levels of their organisation.

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False arrest? Theres nothing there that can be considered false arrest.


Any advice i give is my own and is based solely on personal experience. If in any doubt about a situation , please contact a certified legal representative or debt counsellor..

 

 

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False arrest? Theres nothing there that can be considered false arrest.

 

If there was no arrest / detention there was no "false arrest", though when it does happen it isn't "false arrest" but instead. : "unlawful arrest".

 

The "false" prefix is correctly applied as part of "false imprisonment" if that also occurred.

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All of this (apart from where the OP went back into the store to complain) took place in the car park ...

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update on the incident

 

The area manager did not phone me like was promised so

 

 

I chased her down on the phone to speak to her ,

she made a very rubbish apology and said she would send me something in the post to make up for it .

 

 

I received a very poor apology letter riddled with flaws which included they had retrained the staff

(they done it quick as the incident happened around half 5 in the evening and the letter was date stamped the next day and was with me first thing) ,

 

 

the letter also said that I must be aware that stores must carry out random searches

and that they feel this letter will bring a end to the matter and I should feel welcome to continue shopping in there store.

 

 

THIS HASNT BROUGHT A END TO IT , IT HAS JUST ENRAGED ME TO DEMAND JUSTICE.

 

 

I have had a quick internet search about this company and this problem and they have falsely accused loads of people of this

and have never been brought to justice over it .

 

 

I have since received the letter

tried to contact the area manager again to little success ,

I was told she was out of the country ,

on sick leave ,

not available and

 

 

then when I do get hold of her she said she was driving and would call me back on Thursday or Friday (this didn't happen )

im chasing her up again on Monday .

 

 

it seems this discount food store which advertises it has won the which best supermarket award for years

likes to lie to people and accuse them of false crimes

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If we are talking Aldi here then I suggest an email to

 

Mr Matthew Barnes and Roman Heini (joint managing directors)

 

at

 

gmdsec@aldi.co.uk


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"The store must carry random searches"?

 

Hello! When did that ever become lawful?

 

They may carry out random searches on staff, subject to their consent being obtained, but for a customer? Nobody, but nobody has the right to conduct a random search unless it is a law enforcement official and then only with due process and good reason to do so.

 

I would continue to fight this as it sounds like even the management need 'further training'


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I agree continue fighting this.

 

Something that springs out to me is why on the day in question was there NO Manager nor assist Manager in that store and who placed this assistant in charge of the entire store especially since they have admitted they have been given retraining.

 

Does the store in question actually own the carpark in question where the incident took place?

 

What is that stores policy on random searches and does it cover the carpark where the incident took place.

 

What store policy gives their employees the right to physically place their hands on a customer as this incident took place in the carpark.

 

Why did their employee refuse on numerous occasions of being asked by customer to call the police.

Edited by stu007

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My friend was in the same situation a couple of years ago.

They failed to answer to his complaints completely.

So he went to the store several times demanding to see the manager.

Eventually he found him and made a big scene in front of a crowded store.

The manager apparently didn't know anything about the incident and couldn't stop apologising.

After that big drama in the store my friend got a call from a CEO who apologised profusely.

Also got a letter and a substantial voucher a few days later.

Apparently the cashier who accused my friend was not seen anymore in the store.

I don't suggest making a scene because things can get out of hands and go against you, but this is to say that the CEO is the one to get in touch with.

Keep writing to them until you get a response.

Also, it doesn't sound like you were imprisoned or detained by that girl.

She touched you on the shoulder to gain your attention as you probably couldn't hear her calling you because of the earphone.

I don't thing the police will see this as common assault.

The only point as suggested by others is the slander, but if I'm not wrong it's not a criminal offence and can only be dealt with by the expensive high court (correct me if I'm wrong).

CEO is the way to go I think

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further updates

 

I have emailed the joint directors of the company a huge letter detailing the incident and the terrible letter received , I asked the question how has there company got the legal right to do random searches on customers . I mentioned that after a very quick internet search that the company has done this to a lot of people (some quite horrific - a woman called Janine Taylor was accused of stealing half a box of cereal) and for a company who boasts of there customer excellence and award achievements why do they have a company procedure to break the law and accuse innocent customers of shoplifting and for this they have never been brought up on this offence. I will be contacting the area manager again tomorrow to let her know I am not letting this go and confirming to her once again the way I was treated was unlawful and unacceptable

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Hi chris

 

Many thanks for the update, do keep us posted as to how this goes.

 

As you have now complained to the directors about this and that stores handling of your complaint I would advise waiting for the directors response especially as you have pointed out your treatment initially and the response you received from that store.

 

Have you also asked the Directors for a copy of their Complaints Procedure?


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I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

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Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

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Might be worth posting about this incident on the Aldi facebook page also?


hello all:-)

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further updates

 

I have just received a phone call from the area manager , she has said that the company procedure is completely lawful and they have the right to search anyone they believe may have committed a crime whether they have seen it or not on there premises. They have offered me a bottle of wine and a bunch of flowers as a apology - I said I have no use for a cheap bottle of wine nor any half dead flowers , she said that was all they could offer as she felt they had done nothing wrong and it was a jesture to clear the air - she said they would not apologise publicly as the member of staff was following company procedure (I did say she clearly couldn't of been as in the letter received said she had to be retrained)she also said I didn't need a apology as I had cleared my own name by not letting the member of staff search me and not commiting a crime (even though I was publicly branded a thief and a shoplifter). It was left that she was going back to speak to her boss and was going to call me back tomorrow (she has promised to call me before but never does when she promised to - so maybe this time she might)

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Tell her to put that in writing so you can take full legal advice on it. Suffice to say, i guarantee she wont.


Any advice i give is my own and is based solely on personal experience. If in any doubt about a situation , please contact a certified legal representative or debt counsellor..

 

 

If my advice helps you, click the star icon at the bottom of my post and feel free to say thanks

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further updates

 

I have just received a phone call from the area manager , she has said that the company procedure is completely lawful and they have the right to search anyone they believe may have committed a crime whether they have seen it or not on there premises. They have offered me a bottle of wine and a bunch of flowers as a apology - I said I have no use for a cheap bottle of wine nor any half dead flowers , she said that was all they could offer as she felt they had done nothing wrong and it was a jesture to clear the air - she said they would not apologise publicly as the member of staff was following company procedure (I did say she clearly couldn't of been as in the letter received said she had to be retrained)she also said I didn't need a apology as I had cleared my own name by not letting the member of staff search me and not commiting a crime (even though I was publicly branded a thief and a shoplifter). It was left that she was going back to speak to her boss and was going to call me back tomorrow (she has promised to call me before but never does when she promised to - so maybe this time she might)

 

They publicly and loudly proclaimed that you are a thief but have not done anything to resolve that. You have not cleared your name to anyone who saw the incident. Your reputation might still be being damaged further by someone who witnessed the incident who did not realise that you were refusing to let them search your belongings because you were innocent by pointing you out to one of their friends.

 

I disagree that their company policy that they have the right to search anyone is lawful except for employees who have agreed to it in advance.

 

There might be a use for their cheap bottle of wine, but that depends on how polite you are

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The policy is completely unlawful, false imprisonment is definitely against the law and they shoul know that. If you do not consent to a search all they can do is detain you until a police officer arrives and then answer to the consequences and civil action as a result if you havent broken the law.

Tricky for the store but they cant have it both ways. Slander has its own remedies and a public apology can be forced upon them but it is very expensive to get that far unless you find a good lawyer for free. Better off settling for a decent payment and letter of apology but dont waste time on your local store, go straight to the top as they are vicariously liable so make them earn their salary.

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People need to stop talking about false imprisonment. It has NOTHING to do with this thread.


Any advice i give is my own and is based solely on personal experience. If in any doubt about a situation , please contact a certified legal representative or debt counsellor..

 

 

If my advice helps you, click the star icon at the bottom of my post and feel free to say thanks

:D

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It is not being falsely arrested or even restrained, it is a civil tort of being stopped from going about your lawful business, in other words the very action of preventing you going somewhere without authority. For example preventing you from leaving their site IS but not preventing you from leaving via your chosen route ISN'T.

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further updates

 

I have now become in some what of a crossroad , I have been evaluating what I could do today as aldi aren't forthcoming in offering any sort of resolution .The high court has to be ruled out due to financial reasons but I have looked into the small claims court and went and got a n1 form to start the process.

Whilst sitting down this evening to start going through the form I receive a phone call from the aldi area manager that I have been corresponding with who previously offered me a bottle of wine and flowers. she said she had been speaking to the directors of the company who I emailed and on reflection they would like to increase there offer , they have now offered me a substancial amount of shopping vouchers for there store and I believe the amount could be the amount I could get in the small claims court and this would avoid doing the whole strung out legal process, plus I have been advised that before you can make a small claims case you must try to work things out with the other party first which I have clearly done and as they have made a good offer should I be accepting it

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Ask for the comment to be put in writing (email). If you feel this will put an end to this, go ahead and accept. What about the apology?


If you are asked to deal with any matter via private message, PLEASE report it.

Everything I say is opinion only. If you are unsure on any comment made, you should see a qualified solicitor

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