Shopping in Cranford often seems to bring out many of our most primitive instincts. Chief among these is the desire to “hunt” for the best deals. Oftentimes, the best retail deals might come through your own personal connections. If, for example, you have a friend or acquaintance that works for a retailer, you might be able to leverage that relationship to save money off a purchase. Unfortunately, as some of those with whom we here at The Law Offices of Anthony N. Palumbo have worked with can attest to, some of these supposed deals can be too good to be true.
Section 20-11 of the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice lists under-ringing as an element of shoplifting. In this particular context, “under-ringing” is defined as “to cause the cash register or other sale recording device to reflect less than the full retail value of the merchandise.” It may be well known that a sales associate has the power to override a listed sales price when completing a transaction. The question is when is it lawful for them to do so?
If you claim that you were promised a particular price on an item knowing that it is not true, then there may be little to interpret as to your motives. Yet what if an associate offers you a price below what is listed, or a family member or friend promises to let you utilize their employee discount? While you should inquire as to whether that is allowed, your good faith assumption that those parties are allowed to do that may be a justifiable defense to shoplifting charges. Culpability might instead lie with whoever offered you the discount if it is not authorized.
More information on defending yourself from accusations of shoplifting can be found here on our site.