Consumers have accepted the conditions of entry into a store if a notice asking them to display the contents of their shopping bag is:
- clearly displayed
- visible before they enter the store.
If consumers say ‘no’ to a bag search, the store manager may:
- ask them to leave. A store is private property, not a public place, and a manager has a right to ask them to leave
- refuse to sell the consumer any goods or services
- call the police, if they believe the consumer has committed an offence such as shoplifting.
Bag search policies are not covered by the Australian Consumer Law. If consumers want to dispute a store’s claim, they should seek legal advice.