Can a thrift shop owner bar me from their store for writing down ISBN numbers of books so I can check the price of the books on-line?

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Can a thrift shop owner bar me from their store for writing down ISBN numbers of books so I can check the price of the books on-line?

They have a sign posted that says, “No book referencing devices.” So I wrote down ISBN numbers and left the store to check the prices on my cell phone. They said I can no longer return to the store. Is this legal? I was caught on 2 prior occasions using my cell phone in the store to check prices so I decided to comply and just write the ISBN numbers on a pad and check them outside the confines of the store.

Asked on January 30, 2012 under Business Law, Maryland

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Under the law of all states in this country, a private store owner can refuse to provide service to any person so long as the refusal is not based upon illegal discrimination such as race, creed, gender, sexual orientation, religious grounds and the like.

In the situation that you have written about, it seems as though the store owner of the thrift shop can ban you from the store due to prior violations of the use of book referencing devices. The ban does not appear to be based upon any illegal discrimination grounds.


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