Law in Children’s Lives: Consumer Rights

What would you do if you were given the wrong change?

In the game there was a scene in a shop. A child walks into the shop and buys a drink. But they are given the wrong change.

Lex asked children what they would do if this happened to them:

Most children said that they would ‘ask the shop keeper for my change’ if not given the correct change in a shop, but some said they would call the police.


What did the children think?

Of the 64% of children who said that they would ask for the correct change – some of them said:

“Because I am not going without change (Girl, Year 5)”

“Because it actually happened to me before and I asked for it back and they said ‘Oh yes, I forgot’” (Boy, Year 5)

Of the 30% who said they would call the Police – they said it was because they thought the shopkeeper was stealing money from them.

What does the law say?

In law it depends if the shopkeeper kept the extra money on purpose, or whether it was just a mistake.

If they kept it on purpose, this could be stealing and involve the police and criminal law; but if it was a mistake then this would be a different sort of legal problem, under civil law, which would not involve the police.

In project FORTITUDE we are going to be exploring the differences between civil law and criminal law.