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Third time lucky? France bids to ban automatic printing of receipts

The controversial measure has already been put back twice this year

Checking your supermarket receipt after a big shop could soon be a thing of the past Pic: Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock

France is trying to stop the automatic printing of till receipts… again.

Already pushed back twice this year, the government says the controversial measure will now come into effect from August 1. 

From this date, automatic paper tickets will not be given at stores, except in certain cases such as for expensive electrical appliances.

The measurement is being brought in as part of wider anti-waste laws – 30 billion receipts are printed each year in France, according to the government.

Although the automatic printing of receipts will be banned, it will still be possible to request a receipt, if you want one – and shops are legally obliged to provide you with one if so.

The change was due to be introduced first in January and then in April but was pushed back on both occasions. 

Certain exceptions apply

Although the move has been in the pipeline for a while - it is related to a 2020 law against waste in France - it was pushed back to help stores prepare and adapt to the regulations.

Estimates produced by eco-startup Greenticket - and cited by the government - claim France goes through 30 billion paper receipts annually.

This equates to the cutting of 2.5 million trees, or 950 million litres of water.

Whilst some shops – supermarkets such as Carrefour and SuperU – have already stopped offering automatic paper receipts, the rules now mean that all stores will not provide customers with one after a purchase. 

The change includes an end to paper receipts for: 

  • Till receipts produced in shops

  • Tickets and receipts issued by vending machines

  • Bank card receipts

  • Vouchers and promotional or discount tickets

In shops, however, people will still be able to ask for a receipt or request one from a self-service checkout. If you ask for a printed receipt, the shop must provide you with one.

There are some exceptions, however, where receipts will still be automatically printed. 

The most notable of these is when a bank or credit card payment is refused or does not go through, so you have proof of the failed payment.

Alongside this, receipts for ‘durable goods’ (usually electronics) and items paid for by weight will also still be automatically printed. It will also be the case for shops where you pay for an item and then take a receipt to a counter to collect it. 

Alternatively, customers will also be invited to be sent an e-receipt (digital receipt), via text, email, or by scanning a QR code.

A number of shops, such as supermarkets, also have phone applications you can download, which will automatically save your receipts if you scan your store card before a purchase. 

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