How to Fight Back Against Self-service Tills

By David I Fraser

With the increasing and de-humanising use of self-service tills in supermarkets and elsewhere, there is a way to fight back should you wish to maintain a choice of how to pay for your goods. While I accept that retailers wish to lower overheads, this should not be at the expense of customer choice or service.

A tactic to fight back is to make such ‘innovation’ time-consuming for the company. Management seem to want the customers to work for them, so turn the tables and get them working for us.

The automated tills are usually fitted with a camera to record your face (management obviously suspecting you of being tempted to steal) – and you are entitled under law to have a copy of the video footage.

If you have been forced to use such tills due to a lack of employed check out staff, immediately go to ‘customer services’ (an oxymoron given the subject matter) and politely request a video record of your actions at the till under General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legislation. The immediate response will probably be that the company is not required to provide this. This is where you now have to spend a little time fighting back. It’s not onerous, just a quick email titled ‘Subject Access Request’ to the company’s data management department stating time/date/till number etc with a demand that they provide the relevant data within the legal 30-day period under GDPR. With the request, provide a link to the government website supporting your demand for CCTV video information.

You will be ignored. Write again after a suitable period reminding the data management manager of your right to the footage within 30 days. Should no further action ensue, email the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) with copies of your email trail.

On the one occasion that I was forced to use such a till, I subsequently received an apology from the supermarket after ICO intervention.

This may seem trivial and I’m sure readers have other things they wish to be getting on with but let’s not complain if we are not willing to spend a little time annoying the retailers who will eventually get the message that customers have a choice. Some are quite happy to use self-service tills, no problem, but have sufficient staffed tills to serve those who wish to purchase your stock. You can be certain retailers will have plans to have no staffed checkouts in the future – for your convenience of course.

Originally published here:

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