The measure banning the systematic printing of sales receipts, scheduled for January 2023, has been postponed until April. This ban is part of an ecological and public health approach. It would allow to reduce the 33 billions of receipts printed each year and to limit the exposure to dangerous substances for the health. However, this dematerialization has advantages and disadvantages for both retailers and consumers.

CSR regulations: Printing of receipts

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The measure banning thesystematic printing of sales receipts, scheduled for January 2023, has been postponed until April. This ban is part of an ecological and public health approach. It would allow to reduce the 33 billions of receipts printed each year and to limit the exposure to dangerous substances for the health. However, this dematerialization has advantages and disadvantages for both retailers and consumers.

First of all, as the decree was not published sufficiently in advance, the terms and conditions of the cash register receipts were not sufficiently known to implement this measure on January 1st.

The postponement to April will allow them to better prepare, research and set up a system for sending the invoice electronically.

On the consumer side, the associations raise (among other things, we will come back to this) the importance of the ticket in the control of purchases, and their prices, in a context of inflation and vigilance of the customers in their expenses.

Want to see a one-page pdf summary of this regulation in the form of an action sheet? Download it right here!

Why this ban?

The measure is part of an approach in favor of the ecological transition (in application of the law n°2020-105 of February 10, 2020 relating to the fight against waste and the circular economy - AGEC), as well as for a public health reason.

  • In the fight against waste, reduce the 33 billion or so cash register receipts and bank card bills printed each year, which are difficult to recycle due to their weight and composition.
  • Reduce the population's contact with health hazards such as Bisphenol A, an endocrine disruptor, which are present in 90% of sales receipts.

The receipts affected by this prohibition are credit card tickets produced in sales areas and in establishments open to the public, tickets issued by vending machines, credit card tickets and vouchers.

From now on, in order to obtain a ticket, the consumer will have to explicitly request it from the merchant. The decree also requires the merchant to inform his customers by posting a notice at the place where the payment is made.

Note that some receipts will still be printed automatically on April 1, 2023:

  • Sales receipts for the purchase of so-called "durable goods" where the existence and duration of the legal guarantee of conformity are mentioned. This concerns household appliances, computer equipment or telephone equipment, for example. The complete list of these goods can be found in article D211-6 of the Consumer Code.
  • Credit card receipts for cancelled or credited transactions will also always be printed.
  • Cancelled or credited credit card payment transactions.
  • Tickets issued by automatic machines, which must be kept and presented in order to receive a product or service
  • Receipts or other billing documents printed by non-automatic weighing instruments.

If the customer requests it, the professional will not be able to refuse the printing, even if the digital receipt has already been sent to him.

Dematerialization and consumer expectations.

Since 2020, paperless receipts have evolved significantly and have become much more popular with consumers.

In March 2020, 39% of respondents favored sending their receipts digitally.

In 2022, 53% were in favor.

53% of consumers surveyed are in favor of sending their receipts digitally.

(Twilio/Opinea study)

SMS, E-mail, QR code, ... ?

Faced with the new measure (and therefore the new expectations of customers), professionals will have to choose the modes of transmission of receipts.

And still according to the Twilio/Opinea study, e-mail will be the preferred choice for one out of two French people.

What are the advantages of eliminating the printed ticket?

If a little more than 50% are in favor of the dematerialization measure, it will still be necessary for retailers to explain to the other half of their customers that the printing of their tickets is no longer systematic.

A few advantages to no longer carrying the receipt from your latest shopping trip in the bottom of a bag/wallet/pocket (insert your favorite storage place) while waiting for the ink to disappear and make it completely unreadable:

  • A digital trace (email, SMS or via a dedicated solution) is more durable, the document cannot be lost or erased over time.
  • For the retailer, an easier management of the after-sales service organization which should facilitate his customer experience.
  • The approach reduces paper consumption and avoids contact with potentially toxic substances on the TPE's printed paper.
  • For traveling professionals, it would be easier to transmit a digital document to be reimbursed for expenses.
  • And finally, it would allow the customer, if interested, to be registered in the customer file and to receive personalized offers from the merchant.

(source France Num)

And it is particularly on this last point that the bottom hurts, especially with consumer associations.

Disadvantages of the "dematerialization" of the receipt.

The most common criticism is the protection of personal data and the over-solicitation of consumer contact information by merchants who were previously less involved in their customers' digital ecosystem.

Thus, consumer associations note a risk for :

  • More unwanted advertising communications.
  • Increased fraud. In the case of a contactless payment, on some payment terminals the amount to be paid can be entered without appearing on the screen.
  • Increasing the digital divide for consumers who are uncomfortable with digital tools.
  • Lack of evidence to validate warranties at time of purchase.

But the criticism does not come alone. The very stake of the ecological approach (on its part) can be questioned

Notably because the transfer of these 30 billion paper tickets into email (remember, favored by 50% of the population), sms, etc., is anything but neutral in carbon impact.

For Frederic Bordage, creator of Green IT, the impact of this paper - email conversion is anything but negligible:

"We just change the medium. From paper, we move to e-mails, which require terminals (computer, smartphone...), routers, servers to store these data. Digital technology also has its environmental impacts. Not only greenhouse gas emissions, but also and above all the consumption of abiotic resources, in particular the metals used to build this entire digital infrastructure.

In this context, the use of QR code would allow to find a less impactful alternative to email, but to what extent?

At first sight, the QR code receipt solution would be more ecological than the e-mail solution. But the comparison is far from being relevant...

For Neil Azouz, founder of Noticia, specialists in this new form of sending, who advances a carbon footprint of 19 g of CO2 for a receipt by e-mail, against 0.3 g of CO2 per year for a Noticia receipt:

"This fingerprint was considered the same as an email containing only text and no attachments, already informed in other studies" .

But the comparison remains vague for Frédéric Bordage, who reminds us that "The first (figure; 19 g of CO2 for a ticket by email) is taken from a study by Ademe in 2011, but took as a reference an email sent with a 1 MB attachment. This is much heavier than a receipt sent by email". 

Thus, like the rest of the waste, the least polluting ticket is the one that the merchants will not produce, in a material or digital form.

How can you ensure that all the sites in your network comply with the regulations?

On Lakaa, it is possible to create an action sheet "Suppression of cash register receipts" to diffuse the information and obligations related to this regulation to all its sites. Once this form is created, it is distributed to each site which can then declare to respect this regulation, and give details on the concrete implementation of this action.

Want to see what this action sheet might look like?

Discover it right here!

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