Can a retail store refuse to sell you certain items?

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Can a retail store refuse to sell you certain items?

Excluding age restricted items, is it legal for a store to limit your quantity at point of purchase? For example, if I pick out 10 bottles of laundry detergent or any item but when I go to checkout the cashier tells me that I can only purchase 1 and refuses to sell me the other 9. Could they refuse to sell all 10 items with no reason? Also, can a store refuse to sell an item because you are using a manufacturer’s coupon to purchase it?

Asked on May 20, 2019 under Business Law, Kentucky

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Unless some form of legally actionable discrimination is the reason for this, then yes a store can refuse to sell multiple items to a person. In other words, if the reason that they did not allow you to purchase additional items was due to your race, religion, nationality, age (over 40), disability, gender, etc. then no law was broken. A business can set its policy as it sees fit. Accordingly, selling you 1 item but not 9 others of the same item is perfectly permissabe under the law. 

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Yes, a store can restrict the quantities of items so long as the policy is applied even-handedly (i.e. without discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, etc.). A store is free to set policies about quantities purchased.
They cannot refuse to sell to you due to you using a manufacturer's coupon, though the best way to deal with that situation is to contact the manufacturer about the store's behavior--they may compensate you with more than the value of the coupon.


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