Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

Graphic of e-receipt displayed on a cell phoneLike many of you, I was introduced to e-receipts during the frantic holiday shopping season. Frustrated and tired at the end of a long day, I was barely listening when the cashier asked me if I wanted a paper receipt, email receipt or both. Working at the AGO, I know better than to agree to something before looking into the details.

I found the Better Business Bureau had an article Don’t Let Paperless, E-Receipts Compromise Your Personal Information explaining the pros and cons:

While paperless receipts may offer savings for retailers and convenience to you, be sure you’re aware of what else you could be receiving in your inbox. Along with receipts, businesses may send “junk mail” filled with surveys, coupons and other promotional offers. They may also use your information to build profiles on demographics and buying habits.

The BBB offers these tips for those interested in opting for paperless e-receipts:

  • Find out how the business plans to keep your information secure.
  • Ask if you can opt-out of receiving promotional emails.
  • Beware of scams!
  • Make sure your anti-virus software is up-to-date.

There is also a risk for businesses using e-receipts.
According to Rich Mellor, the National Retail Federation Vice President of Loss Prevention, “Many shoppers love the convenience and flexibility that digital receipts offer them, and unfortunately criminals are finding ways to manipulate them. The ability for people to reproduce those receipts, steal merchandise and return that merchandise more than one time is a troubling thing for retailers.”

According to the NRF’s Return Fraud Survey 19.3% of loss prevention executives reported return fraud with the use of e-receipts.

So, if you are a retailer or a consumer, make sure you have all the facts and have taken all the precautions before using e-receipts. As always, it’s best to shop informed.

Do you use e-receipts? Why or why not?

~ Sarah Lane, All Consuming Moderator


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