How are the rules now?
Stores are not obliged to give customers a receipt. “They must be able to provide some proof if you have a guarantee on a certain product. Because almost all products contain some form of guarantee, you get a receipt almost everywhere,” says Lien Meurisse of the FPS Economy. This receipt may be on paper or digitally. “But if you as a customer request an invoice on paper, the trader is obliged to provide you with a paper.”
“Digital becomes the norm”
More and more shops are opting to offer the receipt digitally. Customers will then receive it by e-mail. An evolution that Minister of Finance Vincent Van Peteghem applauds. “We want to evolve to a situation where the digital receipt becomes the norm. Now merchants have to ask whether the receipt is allowed digitally. But we want to turn the situation around.”
This leads to a lot of concerned reactions from listeners of De Inspecteur. But Van Peteghem reassures: “If a customer asks for a paper version, it should always be possible.” You therefore continue to be entitled to a paper receipt, although you will increasingly have to ask for it explicitly. “In many supermarkets you can already check your receipt via the app of the store. We will simply adapt the legislation to the new reality. That is good for companies, good for consumers and good for the environment.”
Invoices are also increasingly sent digitally. At the moment, companies still have to ask if customers want to switch to an electronic invoice. “But we also want to turn that situation around.”
What about the hospitality industry?
Catering establishments are currently still obliged to provide customers with a paper receipt. ” We have the system of the white cash register and then a VAT receipt on paper must be provided,” explains Van Peteghem. “But we are working on a reform of that system. By next year, the catering industry will also be able to provide a receipt and VAT receipt electronically.”
In order to receive your receipt digitally, you must entrust your e-mail address to shops. This raises questions about privacy, because what are companies going to do with that personal information? “That is a justified concern,” according to Van Peteghem, “but the strict GDPR rules continue to apply. Merchants are only allowed to use your email address to send the receipt. They are not allowed to suddenly send you all kinds of promotions.”