Dear Lifehacker, I’ve recently begun the endeavour to go paperless using a Doxie, Evernote and Google Drive. Loving it so far. My query is about the legality of scanned receipts.
Photo by Ben Osteen.
I understand that scanned receipts are accepted by the Australian Tax Office, but are they legal documents in other contexts? Is a store is able to legally refuse a scanned receipt, even if I’ve printed it out?
Thanks Scan Fan
The ACCC certainly doesn’t think that a legitimate copy of a receipt is any less kosher than the original document, noting that particular case specifically as an "other type of proof of purchase" in its notes on receipts here.
There is a note further in the same link that suggests your case will always be stronger if you have more than one type of documentation to prove purchase — warranty cards and the like — but from a legal standpoint there doesn’t seem to be all that much confusion.
Presumably a store could refuse a refund from a scanned receipt if they had reasonable grounds to suspect the digital image had been tampered with, but that's a very specific kind of case. In general use, there should be no difference.
The ACCC even offers an Android or iOS app that allows you to store your receipts on your phone directly, further enhancing the validity of a scanned receipt. So scan away and clear that clutter!
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