California’s ‘Skip the Slip’ bill to reduce paper receipts aims to reduce waste, but comes with concerns from consumers and small businesses

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — After a purchase at Book Passage in the San Francisco Ferry Building, you will be asked this question: “Do you want a receipt?”

The answer is often “No”.

We have a love-hate relationship with printed receipts. They make it easier to track purchases but cause a lot of waste.

In a recent conversation with San Francisco Assemblyman Phil Ting, I told him this: “The grocery store I go to, they always ask me if I want to get a receipt while it’s printing I always say no, and they “I throw it away.”

VIDEO: Could paper receipts in California be illegal? Bay Area lawmaker reintroduces bill to make them only on demand

Assemblyman Ting responds, “That’s the problem. I reintroduced our AB 1347, which we call “Skip the Slip”. What we’re trying to do is have all retailers in California do receipts upon request.”

Only on demand. Businesses that ignore a few warnings could be fined $25 a day if unwanted receipts are printed.

“Heaven knows we’re not fans of these endlessly received mega-longs,” says Robert Herrell of the Consumer Federation of California.

He worries, however, about returns and exchanges if a receipt is refused: “When I buy something, I bought it for a reason. I have no intention of returning it. I certainly don’t know that something is going to be faulty before you buy it.”

RELATED: Bill to eliminate paper receipts is the first in the country

No receipt often means no return or exchange.

Book Passage’s Elaine Petrocelli likes the idea but also worries about the details. “A lot of small businesses, in particular, will find this very cumbersome,” she says. “I don’t care much about big business. They’re going to have to give up those ads on their receipts.”

But small businesses? She says some may need help paying for new point-of-sale equipment that allows the “yes” or “no” question.

“I think you’re going to need a subsidy system for companies that can’t afford it,” she says.

Ting tried to pass this law three years ago. He believes he has a better chance of success this time around because since the pandemic we have been using less money.

Check out more stories and videos from Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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