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Do you offer ‘paperless receipts’?



If you do, you should make sure you understand the privacy and personal information implications. CTV reports that some Canadian retailers are now offering their customers an “e-receipt”, which they can receive by email or access at dedicated websites. Sure, it’s a “green” option, and maybe more convenient for customers who want to track their purchases, but it requires the customer to provide an email address, which might allow retailers to “learn a lot about a customer’s preferences and buying habits”, according to Jason Shapiro, CEO of TransactionTree, an American company that assists organizations in developing paperless receipt strategies.

Shapiro describes the situation this way: “In the past, when you would go into a store and you would buy an item, that’s pretty much it. They don’t know who bought it or anything like that.” But with customers’ email addresses, retailers can “cross-reference customers and their purchases and market their products accordingly.”

Under Canada’s privacy laws, organizations offering paperless receipts must tell customers how they might use the customer’s email address. And with new anti-spam legislation coming into effect soon, organizations will have to take extra care to ensure they offer customers the choice to opt out of any electronic marketing efforts.

Finance and Accounting PolicyPro (FAPP) from First Reference describes organizations’ obligations with respect to enterprise, supplier, customer and employee personal information and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). See FAPP Volume II — Corporate Governance, policy 1.11 – Confidentiality and privacy.

Adam Gorley
First Reference Internal Controls, Human Resources and Compliance Editor

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Adam Gorley

Editor at First Reference
Adam Gorley, B.A. (Phil.), is a researcher, content provider and editor. He contributes regularly to First Reference Talks and Internal Control blogs, HRinfodesk and other First Reference publications. His areas of focus include broad human resources issues, corporate social responsibility, corporate governance and government policies, information technology and labour market trends.Read more
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2 thoughts on “Do you offer ‘paperless receipts’?
  • Adam Gorley says:

    Thanks for the comment Suzanne! I hadn’t thought of that factor.

    I think e-receipts are a great idea. I imagine they can be very practical and efficient for anyone who keeps track of their purchases. I’m sure in the near future we’ll see enhanced security and privacy practices applied to e-receipts, but in the mean time, I guess customers will just have to be careful and ensure that the retailer will remove them from mailing or tracking lists if asked.

  • Hi Adam,
    I had to read this one the reason being is that in customer service we are encouraging e-receipts for people who are blind. That way they can have the screen reader verify the bill by reading aloud and they don’t have to trust the cashier. That’s all…probably more than you wanted to know. So, yes from an accounting and legal point of view there are definately privacy rules to pay attention but e-invoicing is the wave of the future even if it is primarily for people ordering on the internet or telephone. Well done story! Smiles,