Walmart Sued for Extorting Shoplifters

According to a recent story at Quartz, Walmart has been employing a private security company that has been punishing shoplifters with what the California state court ruled to be “textbook extortion.”

Created and enforced by Walmart’s security company, the Corrective Education Company (CEC), in an effort to combat the store’s massive shoplifting problem – close to $3 billion worth of goods are stolen from Walmart stores annually – the punitive measure was billed as a “restorative justice” program that’s designed to help Walmart “avoid being unnecessarily punitive.” However, according to the suit, in practice it amounted to little more than “false imprisonment” and a shake-down.

The bungled attempt at revenue-juicing-restorative-justice looked like this: the CEC would catch a shoplifter and give them two options — a short online course that could cost an offender up to $500, or a call to the local police. “90 percent of the accused shoplifters… chose the CEC route,” according to the company, and thus were on the hook for a large amount of money without the benefit of any legal framework.

CEC claims their program was designed to prevent shoplifters from facing a “lifelong scarlet letter because of one bad choice.” However, the suit alleges that “the program creates incentives for retailers and security operators to push the CEC option, instead of ensuring alleged offenders get due process through the legal system.”

You can read more about it at Quartz.

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