Compensation culture

Hang on – that picture doesn’t go with the heading, does it?

Well, yes it does actually. Seems the compensation culture has been taking a new twist. Companies have been hitting anyone who is caught shoplifting with compensation claims – even if they are not convicted.

In a recent landmark case, a judge in Oxford threw out civil claims for £137 send to each of two girls caught by the store security guard stealing make up. The goods were recovered and no charges were bought, but the civil claim was brought by the shop owners. The Citizens Advise Bureau are referring to these sorts of cases as ‘a parallel justice system’.

Primark, Iceland, Asda, Boots, Debenhams, Tesco and TK Maxx all employ agents to issue ‘civil recovery’ demands supposedly to cover administrative costs of processing shoplifting cases.

Another example was a mother whose toddler opened a drink in Boots without paying for it. Boots demanded £87.50 costs for ‘staff and management time, administration and apportioned security costs’

Faced with threats of court and being placed on a dishonesty register, a lot of people just pay up, but now that has been challenged in court, things might change. The judge in this case dismissed claims that the security staff were diverted from their normal duties. Frankly, I would have thought was self evident. What else are they there for? He also dismissed claims that it had caused ‘serious disruption’ to their business.

Under cross examination, the security manager revealed that he had spend an hour and ten minutes on the case. This cost £17 and not the £98.55 that was being claimed. Also the guard involved spent 30 minutes at a cost of around £5 – significantly less than the £20 they were asking for.

I don’t condone shoplifting for one moment, but it seems to me that there is more than one thief involved here and well done to the judge for spotting it…

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One response to “Compensation culture

  1. High St.retailers all have a "Civil Recovery" policy for professional, or persistent, or plain unpleasant shoplifters, mostly they have a minimum value of goods lost as well as recovered before the details are passed to the company's briefs to pursue.Any company worth their salt, wouldn't pursue a civil recovery for paltry amounts as that would be flagged up to local management as a waste of legal costs, and someone would get their arse kicked all up and down the shop.

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