Paper or digital: The pros and cons of email receipts - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Paper or digital: The pros and cons of email receipts

Posted: Updated:
Amarillo, TX -

Many stores are trading in paper receipts for digital copies, but the new trend may be putting your personal information at risk. The old question used to be paper, or plastic. But now, customers have another decision to make... paper, or digital.

"They give me an option of getting either a hard copy receipt or by email, and since they already have all that information on me, I say give me an email receipt please," said Nicholas Gerlich, a marketing professor at West Texas A&M University.

In Texas, according to the Attorney General's Office, retailers can't force you to give out personal information in order to make a sale. But if you do give out your email address, you may be giving up more than you think. "They can do whatever they want and as often as they want," Gerlich said about companies who have your email address.

Some companies like Office Depot give you an option when it comes to email receipts. They tell us if your part of their rewards program, your email can be used for marketing purposes. But, if you are not and you opt for a digital receipt, your email is used only once, and it is not saved or stored. Home Depot has a similar policy. They tell us in a statement, the email addresses they collect are "only used to deliver the receipt, unless the customer opts in to receive promotional information."

Other large retailers, like Apple, Macy's and Nordstrom's, say they use email address for marketing purposes. In some cases, companies may sell your email address, a concern some shoppers, like Taylar McNeil, say keeps them from signing up. "I don't know where my email address goes because some of them do get sold off and I really don't like that because then it makes my email even more junky," McNeil said.

But others say giving out that information isn't that big of a deal. "It seems so normal now that everyone has your email, or your phone number, those kinds of things, it just seems like it's the norm," Amy Meredith, a local shopper, tells us.

Of course you can opt out of signing up for email receipts. Or, you can take advice from Christian Vandament, one shopper who says there is another way to go about it. "I have my personal email that I use generally for trusted websites, and then I have one for if I feel like I am going to get spammed, I give them that email," he said.

The best thing to do is talk to your sales associate to learn more about the stores policy, before deciding if you want to give out your email address.