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Scanning receipts

A member has asked whether receipts and warranties can be scanned for ease of storage and tracking.

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If a purchase needs to be returned, would the retailer accept a scanned printout or other electronic version of the receipt as proof of purchase?

Proof of purchase doesn't need to be a receipt. You could use a bank statement, a credit-card slip, or some other proof that’s acceptable to the retailer ... you could even use a statement from someone who was with you when you made the purchase!

We checked with the New Zealand Retailers Association - and it confirmed retailers will accept an electronically stored copy as proof of purchase both for Consumer Guarantees Act claims and for warranties. The only downside is that some scanners have been known to randomly alter numbers, although this seems to be rare.

Tip: Check the wording of the warranty in case a scanned copy isn't acceptable.

The other issue raised by our member was whether insurance companies would accept electronically stored receipts for claims on bigger items. We asked the Insurance and Savings Ombudsman and the Insurance Council of New Zealand for their views.

The Insurance and Savings Ombudsman said insurance companies didn't usually require original receipts for proof of purchase. You only have to show adequate proof of loss when making a claim.

The Insurance Council said its members regard scanned receipts as useful for proof of purchase. It also suggested consumers use the free Snap website to store details of all important possessions and assets.

Snap's a New Zealand Police initiative. You have to register to use it - but after that you can create your own "asset list" which you can access anywhere and at any time. You can record photos and serial numbers, warranty information, model numbers and details of valuation certificates ... invaluable if your home is burgled, or if it's destroyed by fire or earthquake.

Tip: Check with your insurer what it requires as proof. It may have its own rules.

We say:

  • Scanning receipts and storing the information electronically is a great way of keeping track of purchases. It saves wading through a pile of receipts - that's if you still have them!
  • If you scan your receipts into your own computer (rather than storing them in the Cloud), do a back-up each time you add to them.