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Can swapping price tags lead to shoplifting charges in Florida?

Many people mistakenly believe that messing with price tags on items in order to pay a lower price does not count as shoplifting. However, this is not true; such actions can have serious legal consequences.

In Florida, swapping price tags and other similar actions can lead to retail theft charges.

Altering or swapping price tags

Swapping price tags on merchandise is a form of shoplifting. Under Florida law, “retail theft” refers to shoplifting. According to Florida statute section 812.015, the definition of retail theft includes removing or altering a label, price tag or universal product code (UPC) to get it from the merchant for less than full retail value or take it from them altogether.

People sometimes mess with price tags to avoid outright stealing, but attempting to get a discount in this fraudulent manner is still a form of theft.

Other retail theft actions

Other common actions that can count as retail theft include concealing items, disabling security mechanisms (e.g., antishoplifting devices), removing a shopping cart or switching merchandise to different packaging. Disabling security devices involves tampering with security tags or sensors that prevent theft. This includes cutting off these tags or using magnets to remove them. It is unlawful to carry or attempt to use a countermeasure (e.g., magnets and other technology) to these devices into the store or other retailer.

With rising retail costs nationwide, some customers may feel tempted to swap price tags while shopping, but doing so can lead to retail theft charges and subsequent consequences.