How to Avoid the Cash Change "Theft" at the Retail Sales Counter

Customer theft can present in many different forms. One form often found in independent smaller retail businesses is that where there is a dispute over change – where the amount of change given was correct in the first instance.

Typically, the person stealing will be very quick with their hands and have a plausible story about being given the wrong change. They will be able to prove the wrong change because of what they have in their hands. Sales clerks in a busy shop will find themselves agreeing that they must have given the wrong change and handing over more cash.

The best way to avoid handing over cash to criminals is to follow some simple guidelines at the retail sales counter:

  1. Train employees to focus on transacting the sale and not social chatter. While this may look less friendly, it will lead to more accurate sales.
  2. Keep your cash drawer tidy and well organised. This makes checking easier. Law enforcement officers have told me criminals look for an untidy cash drawer as this makes it harder for the retail employee to prove anything.
  3. Have a rule about how you want notes placed. Discipline on detail like this helps ensure discipline through the sales process.
  4. Place large denominations (anything over a $20) under the cash drawer. This ensures that you treat them differently.
  5. Use your Point of Sale system or your cash register to show the amount of change to give. Print a receipt whenever practical as this confirms the change to give.
  6. Verbally acknowledge the value of the sale.
  7. Count back the change given as you hand it to the customer. While this takes time, it ensures accuracy as any mistake will be obvious in the count back.
  8. Depending on the size of the business, have a supervisor check notes over $20. This is time consuming so it depends on sales volume.
  9. Never allow a dispute on change to be handled by one person – bring in a supervisor.
  10. Watch the video footage from the security system, if you have one, to see what actually happened before you make a decision on whether to hand over more cash. I have seen situations where indicating that you cannot hand over the cash they want until you watch the footage sees them walk off – this is considered a sign that they were out to steal from you.

Simple processes can ensure certainty in the handling of change and leave little wriggle room for a criminal to take cash which belongs to the business. While there is extra work in these guidelines, the result is less theft for the business.


Post time: 08-29-2017