​$5 ‘Just Looking’ By Aussie Store Stirs Scrutiny​​

By: | 03/27/2013 08:19 PM ET

It can cost you $5 for a ‘just looking’ fee to walk into a store in Australia because the owners hate it when customers walk around without buying anything.

$5 'Just Looking' Fee

There’s a sign informing shoppers of the new policy at a specialty food store in Brisbane.

The fee exists to stop people from “showrooming” — which occurs when a customer looks at items in a physical store, then makes the purchase online.

The sign assures that you’ll have the five dollars deducted from the final purchase price, so you’ll get your money back if you buy something.

The policy is being ripped apart unanimously.

“It has to be the most misguided strategy we’ve seen for dealing with showrooming,” wrote Matt Brownell at Daily Finance. “The goal of any retailer should be to impress customers with competitive pricing and great customer service - not treat their customers with suspicion and hostility from the moment they walk in the door.”

“If customers aren’t buying, the seller needs to figure out why and adapt accordingly,” wrote Chris Morran at The Consumerist. “If this store’s prices are truly the best, then maybe it should be offering a price-match guarantee. If it truly offers products that aren’t available elsewhere, then how are these showrooming shoppers buying these items from someone else?”

Consumers are letting the store feel the heat by voicing their opinion of the new policy, which could drive them out of business.