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Abandoned Shopping Carts

Abandoned carts are a nuisance and an eyesore that hurt our neighborhoods. They can be dangerous, and tend to attract litter and more carts.

How do shopping carts get abandoned, anyway? People “borrow” them. But people should know that removing carts from a store’s parking lot – or even possessing a cart without the store’s permission – is illegal and subject to a substantial fine. More information available below.

Do stores have a role to play? They do. Stores are required to employ all reasonable means to ensure that carts remain on their property, including physical barriers, security personnel, and especially signs to let customers know that taking carts is illegal. Stores must retrieve their own carts when asked to do so. More information available below.

What can residents do? First, don’t be part of the problem. There are many “personal carts” available, and most are inexpensive – much less than the potential fine for taking a store cart!

What can you do if you see an abandoned cart? Call the store that owns the cart and request that the cart be retrieved.

If you don’t know which store to call, contact California Shopping Cart Retrieval at (800) 252-4613 or online at retailsolutionshq.com/report-carts.

Long Beach Shopping Cart Bylaws, Enforcement, etc. - Long Beach Municipal Code 8.61

Report Abandoned Shopping CartsReport Abandoned Shopping Carts
Citation Information for Abandoned Shopping CartsCitation Information for Abandoned Shopping Carts
Long Beach Shopping Cart Bylaws (LBMC 8.61)Long Beach
Shopping Cart Bylaws
(LBMC 8.61)

FAQs for Residents

  • Why should I report an abandoned shopping cart?

    For one, abandoned shopping carts are an eyesore in the community and actually attract additional litter. More importantly, though, they present a danger to children who do not understand the consequences of “playing” with shopping carts.
  • Am I allowed to take a shopping cart home?

    No. It is a violation of State law and City ordinance for shopping carts to be removed from a business premises without written permission from the owner. Stores are required to monitor their shopping carts and make sure they stay on site at all times.
  • What if the store gives me permission to borrow the cart?

    The store may give you written permission to take the cart off the premises. Remember, though, you must make arrangements for that cart to be returned to the store within a twenty-four (24) hour period.
  • What if I see an abandoned cart in my neighborhood?

    Every shopping cart is required to have a shopping cart identification sign. This sign will tell you who owns the cart, and who to call to have the cart picked up. If there is an abandoned cart in your neighborhood, simply call the store, and they are required to retrieve it.
  • How long does the store have to retrieve the cart?

    The store has twenty-four (24) hours to retrieve the cart. If the cart is not retrieved within this time period, please contact the California Shopping Cart Retrieval Corporation at (800) 252-4613 or online at cscrc.net.
  • What should I do if I need to use a cart?

    Many residents now use personal, collapsible carts that are both sturdy and lightweight. These carts can be taken on local buses, and can be stored easily at home.
  • Where can I purchase my own cart?

    Personal carts are becoming very popular and can be purchased at a variety of local stores or online by typing “portable shopping carts” into your web browser.
  • Who do I call if I have any questions?

    For further questions, please contact the Department of Development Services at (562) 570-1010.

FAQs for Cart Owners

  • Did you know?

    According to Long Beach City Ordinance 8.61, you are responsible for containing all of your shopping carts on your business premises at all times.

    Any time any of your shopping carts are found off your business premises, you are in violation of this ordinance. 

  • What is considered my business premises?

    Your business premises include where you do business, adjacent walkways, any loading areas and the parking lot. If your business is in a multi-store complex or shopping center, your parking lot includes the entire parking area used by the complex.
  • What happens if a cart is taken off my business premises?

    Your business is required to have an on-site cart containment program. If a City Code Enforcement Officer notices one of your carts off your business property, you may be cited for being in violation of the City’s shopping cart ordinance.
  • What is an on-site cart containment program?

    An on-site cart containment program means that your business has one or moreof the following:

    • Disabling devices on all shopping carts that prevent them from being taken off your business premises
    • A security guard on-site to prevent customers from “borrowing” your shopping carts
    • A chained-in area or bollards around the business premises that prevents cart removal
    • Security deposits from customers to use shopping carts
    • Rental or sale of utility carts
  • Can I be exempt from having an on-site containment program?

    Yes. You may not be required to have an on-site containment program if you provide proof of contracting with a qualified cart retrieval service that meets the standards of the City's Director of Development Services.
  • What is a qualified cart retrieval service?

    A qualified cart retrieval service is a commercial, third party service, which you hire to retrieve and return your shopping carts. The retrieval service must actively locate shopping carts within a one-mile radius of the business, and respond to complaints from the public within twenty-four (24) hours.
  • Can I give my customers permission to take carts off the premises?

    Yes. Your customers may take shopping carts off the premises with your written permission. Remember, though, it is still your responsibility to retrieve the cart, and you can be cited if you neglect to do so.
  • What if I need to have a cart repaired?

    No written authorization is needed if the cart is removed for the purpose of repair or maintenance.
  • Do I need to post signs?

    Yes. You must post cart removal warning signs that meet the following minimum specifications:

    • Sign is at least 18” x 24”
    • Block lettering at least ½” wide and 2” in height
    • Contains language that tells your customers that unauthorized removal of a shopping cart from the business premises, or possession of a shopping cart in a location other than on the business premises, is a violation of state law and City ordinance
    • List a local or toll-free telephone number for cart retrieval
    • Must be in at least two languages
    • Must be posted inside the building or permanently and prominently displayed within two feet of all customer entrances and exits
  • Do I need to label my carts?

    Yes. Every shopping cart utilized must have a cart identification number and cart identification sign.
  • What is a cart identification number?

    A cart identification number is a unique number assigned to each cart you own.
  • What is a cart identification sign?

    A cart identification sign is a sign or engraved surface, permanently attached to the shopping cart that has the following information:

    • Business name and telephone number
    • Cart identification number
    • Toll-free phone number for cart retrieval
    • Procedure to obtain permission to take a cart off the business premises
    • Notice to the public that unauthorized removal is in violation of state law and City ordinance
  • What are the penalties if I am cited?

    The fine is $100 for each violation. If payment is not received within thirty (30) days from the date of the citation, a late charge of 25% will be added to the fine.

    If you receive more than ten citations in thirty (30) days, you will be referred to the City Prosecutor and may be required to install a physical containment system.

  • What is a physical containment system?

    A physical containment system is:

    • A disabling device on the cart that locks the wheels or in any way prevents it from being moved off the premises


    • Any other approved system which physically contains shopping carts on the premises
  • Are physical containment systems required for new stores that have shopping carts?

    Yes, a physical containment system is required for new construction (including additions to existing facilities) of more than 5,000 square feet.
  • How will I know if the City impounds one of my shopping carts?

    The administrative citation you receive will also serve as notice that the City has impounded one or more of your shopping carts. If you receive a citation, you must call (562) 570-2850 to make arrangements to pick-up your cart. You will be required to bring proof that you are the cart owner or an official representative of the cart owner. If you do not retrieve your cart within thirty (30) days, it will be crushed for recycling pursuant to state law.

  • How do I pay my fine?

    You can either mail your fine using the envelope provided or pay in person at 411 W. Ocean Blvd, 1st Floor, Long Beach CA 90802. Payment may be made with personal check, cashier’s check or money order payable to the City of Long Beach. Please include the attached payment remittance slip and write your citation number on the check or money order. No cash will be accepted whether you mail your fine or pay in person.

  • What if I don’t pay my fine?

    If you do not pay the fine and any accrued late penalties in a timely manner, the City may:

    • Impose a special assessment and/or lien against the real property on the business premises
    • File an action in Small Claims Court
    • Suspend or refuse any permit, license, entitlement or city approval pertaining to the business
  • What if an action is filed in Small Claims Court for failure to pay?

    The only issue to be decided by the Small Claims Court is whether or not you paid the fine. You may only seek judicial review regarding the validity of the citation by first participating in an administrative appeal hearing. In the Small Claims Court action, the City may also recover its costs.
  • How do I appeal the citation?

    In order to appeal your citation you must submit to the Department of Development Services (located at 411 W. Ocean Blvd, 4th Floor, Long Beach CA 90802).

    • A completed Request for Hearing form, and...
    • A deposit in the total amount of your outstanding fines and late charges made payable to the City of Long Beach
  • Where do I get a Request for Hearing form?

    You can get a Request for Hearing form at the Department of Development Services, Neighborhood Services Bureau (longbeach.gov/lbds/hn).

  • How long do I have to submit an appeal?

    You have thirty (30) days from the date of service of the citation to submit an appeal. If you do not file an appeal within thirty (30) days, you lose any further right to appeal or to seek judicial review.
  • How will I be notified of the hearing date?

    You will be notified in writing of the time and place at least ten (10) days prior to the appeal hearing.
  • How soon can I expect an appeal hearing date?

    The appeal hearing will be set for no sooner than fifteen (15) days, and no more than sixty (60) days from the time you submit your completed request.
  • What can I expect at the appeal hearing?

    The only evidence the hearing officer will consider is:

    • Whether you are responsible for the cart that was cited


    • Whether there was an actual violation of the shopping cart ordinance
  • What if I fail to appear at my hearing?

    If you fail to appear at the hearing, you will forfeit your deposit and lose your future right to administrative remedies.
  • How will I be notified of the decision?

    The hearing officer shall issue a written decision within fifteen (15) business days of the hearing.
  • What if my appeal is denied?

    If your appeal is denied, the City will keep your deposit as payment for the fine.
  • What if my appeal is granted?

    If your appeal is granted, the City will refund your deposit within thirty (30) business days of the final written decision.
  • If my appeal is denied, do I have any other options?

    Yes. You may obtain a review of the decision by filing a Petition for Review with the Los Angeles Superior Court. Judicial review of a citation is not available unless all administrative remedies have been exhausted.
  • Who can I contact if I have questions?

    For further questions, please contact the Department of Development Services at (562) 570-1010.