Is there a “retail database” that posts pictures andpersonal information of shoplifters who have not been prosecuted in the courts?

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Is there a “retail database” that posts pictures andpersonal information of shoplifters who have not been prosecuted in the courts?

Caught shoplifting by local grocery chain. Confessed; signed forms; took picture. Was quickly informed about penal code section 409 and civil restitution/fine, etc. No police, or formal reports. Simple/clean, but now I am reading about my transgression and am horrified to learn that there is some “national retailers database” where retailers post pictures and personal information of caught offenders.  Apparently your name stays on this list for 7years, thus preventing retail employment among other things? Is this true? Can I do stop a post? What are the implications for me?

Asked on November 7, 2010 under Personal Injury, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

There is no "national retailers database" set up by law. If there is some database maintained by private company or association or group--e.g. a retailer's support, advocacy, trade, etc. group--there is probably nothing at all you can do about it. People may post, track, keep records of, etc. true publically available information--and if you confessed to a store that you shoplifted, that information is public in the sense that unless there was specifically some "nondisclosure clause" in what you signed, they have the right to post or distribute that information. Therefore, from what you right, it sounds like if there is such a database, it has the right to post information about your shoplifting as long as everything posted is truthful. (If not truthful, you may have a cause of action for defamation.)


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