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France plans to ban paper till receipts from January

For many shoppers they're just pointless extra paper, but France's plan to phase out paper till receipts - the next phase of its far-reaching anti-waste laws - has run into some opposition.

France plans to ban paper till receipts from January
A cashier in a Carrefour supermarket. (Photo: Fred Dufour / AFP)

The ending of handing out till receipts, part of France’s eco-friendly anti-waste law, is due to come into effect on January 1st, 2023, meaning that – unless it is needed as proof of purchase for guarantee or return purposes – till receipts will not be issued unless expressly requested.

However, associations including the Conseil national de la consommation (CNC), la CSF, Familles de France, Familles rurales, and l’UFC-Que choisir are urging a rethink, calling for the text of the bill, voted through in February 2020, to be modified so that customers are expressly offered a receipt, giving them the choice over whether to take it or not.

The rule on paper til receipts is the third phase in France’s far reaching Loi relative à la lutte contre le gaspillage et à l’économie circulaire (law on anti-waste and towards a circular economy).

Measures already in force from phases one and two include bans on single-use plastics such as coffee cups, limits on plastic packaging on food and restrictions on advertising.

READ ALSO How France’s anti-waste laws affect you

Scheduled for January 1st 2023 is a ban on disposable dishes in fast-food restaurants and the paper till receipt rule. Retailers will also be banned from destroying unsold products (apart from food) and will be required to give customers more information on the environmental impact of their purchases.

But the paper till receipts rule has run into some opposition – although many retailers have already adopted it without waiting for it to become law.

“At no time in the decree is it written that the seller must have the consent of the consumer for the printing or not of the receipt,” said Matthieu Robin, deputy director of studies of UFC Que Choisir. 

The associations are concerned that ending the routine printing out of receipts would deprive consumers ‘of the chance to assert their rights’, he added, listing the right to return out-of-date goods, or exchange a faulty garment, or the legal guarantees that come with certain non-food purchases.

The Fédération du commerce et de la distribution (FCD), which represents most major retailers in France has a different take.

“The decree does not go into detail. But it’s a measure that we’ve been talking about for over two years and, in our stores, payment terminals will be reconfigured by our service providers,” Philippe Joguet, director of responsabilité sociale et environnementale at the FCD, said. 

He explained that, for payments made by credit card, which represent more than 60 percent of purchases, the terminal will include a display on the screen so that the customer can decide whether to receive a receipt. 

And for the other means of payment, the cashier will ascertain the customer’s wish.

Member comments

  1. It is all very well banning receipts but I have often found with my local carrefour that items bought on promotion are charged at full price on the till. The only way to query this is with a proper receipt. They now ask at the till if I want a receipt which I only take if I think there may be a query on some items.

  2. I would like to have the opportunity to take a screenshot of the bill, as it appears on the cashier’s screen.

  3. French supermarkets are notorious for charging a different price at the till to that displayed on the shelf. Carrie-ann is correct. Two recent incidences – – bought an offer item at 19.99 did my shopping and when I got back to the car thought my bill was a bit excessive. Checked the receipt and sure enough charged 69.99 for the offer item. When back to the acceuil and them checked it and then gave me a ticket and told me to queue up again behind 6 people to get refund. No apology or sorry or extra voucher for the error. Another day in a different supermarket charged 40.66 for a 6 pack of UHT milk which should have cost 4.22. Had to drive back to the supermarket to ask for refund which was given to me. This time there was an apology. My advise to anyone is definitely always get you receipt and check it. In my country ( Ireland ) it is illegal practice to do this and the supermarket has to compensate you as well as give you the refund. But in France they do not care because there is no consumer rights at all and the big supermarket chains know that they can get away with it.

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CRIME

Pressure mounts on France’s new disabilities minister to resign over rape allegations

French President Emmanuel Macron's newly appointed disabilities minister was facing mounting pressure to resign on Monday after the emergence of rape allegations from over a decade ago.

Pressure mounts on France's new disabilities minister to resign over rape allegations

The accusations against Damien Abad, which he denies, are a major headache for Macron and his new Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne as they seek to keep political momentum after his April presidential poll victory and ahead of June parliamentary elections.

They also come after several politicians running for parliament stepped down in recent weeks over alleged violence against women.

The appointment of Abad as minister for solidarities and people with disabilities in a reshuffle on Friday was seen as a major coup for Macron, as the 42-year-old had defected from the right wing opposition.

READ ALSO Who’s who in France’s new government 

But the next day, the Mediapart news site reported a politics watchdog group created by members of France’s MeToo movement had informed prosecutors as well as Macron’s LREM party of rape claims against Abad by two women in 2010 and 2011.

The government’s new spokeswoman Olivia Gregoire on Monday denied that Macron and his government were aware of the allegations when Abad had been appointed.

One of the women told Mediapart that in 2010 she blacked out after accepting a glass of champagne and woke up in her underwear in pain with Abad in a hotel room, and believes she may have been drugged.

She has not filed an official complaint, but prosecutors are looking into the case following a report filed by the Observatory of Sexist and Sexual Violence in Politics.

The other woman, named only as Margaux, said that her sexual encounter with Abad in 2011 began as consensual, but accuses him of then forcing anal sex on her.

The report said she informed the police in 2012 but then declined to formally make a complaint, and her subsequent claim in 2017 was later dismissed by prosecutors.

“I’m relieved that it’s come out, because I knocked on quite a few doors so that someone would do something after the case was dismissed, as I thought it was unfair,” Margaux told AFP on Sunday.

“A lot of people knew but some preferred to look away rather than ask more questions,” she added.

Abad said in a statement he contested “in the strongest way” the allegations, arguing his own disability means he is incapable of sexually assaulting anyone.

The newly appointed minister has arthrogryposis, a rare condition that affects the joints, which he says means sexual relations can only occur with the help of a partner.

The allegations overshadowed the new cabinet’s first meeting on Monday, with Gregoire facing a string of questions on the case.

“The government is with those who, following an assault or harassment, have the immense courage to speak out,” Gregoire told reporters.

She added it is up to the judicial system to establish the truth and that, to her knowledge, “no other procedure against Damien Abad is in the works”.

But politicians on the left called for his immediate resignation.

“If I were prime minister, I would tell Damien Abad: ‘I have no particular reason to believe the women are lying… While we wait for a decision from the judicial system, I wish for you not to be part of the government,'” Socialist Party leader Olivier Faure told France Inter radio.

Green politician Sandrine Rousseau also called for Abad to go.

“We need to send a loud enough message to women, that their voices count,” Rousseau told RTL radio.

Borne, herself only appointed last week in the reshuffle, said on Sunday there could be no impunity for harassment and sexual assault.

“If there is new information, if a new complaint is filed, we will draw all the consequences,” Borne said.

In 2020, Macron’s decision to appoint Gérald Darmanin as interior minister – although he was accused of rape, sexual harassment and abuse of power – drew heavy criticism, even sparking demonstrations.

Darmanin, who kept his job in the reshuffle, has denied any wrongdoing and prosecutors in January asked for the case to be dropped.

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