DENVER (CBS4)– Those who purchase items at Walmart may not have been getting all their money back when returning items. Walmart admits it has been shortchanging customers when it comes to taxes.
It’s been happening in Colorado and other parts of the country. The practice has led to some lawsuits and some unhappy customers.
Walmart’s policy states that a customer is entitled to a full refund after buying a product from Walmart and taking it back to the store, if conditions are met, regardless of the location.
Anthony Block noticed something wasn’t quite right about some of his recent returns.
“Every store I go to I have this problem, the particular one in Stapleton, I told them about it and the supervisor told me the store manager told them not to refund the difference,” said Block.
When Block would buy something at a Walmart in Aurora, the sales tax is 8 percent. Then he would return it to a Denver store with a 7.62 percent sales tax, he was getting the lesser tax rate back.
“A few cents can add up to millions of dollars depending on how many stores are in the nation of Walmart,” said Block.
It may be happening in other states, not just Colorado.
CBS4 Investigator Rick Sallinger found a lawsuit filed in federal court in Ohio that claims the same thing is happening there.
An Illinois man was shortchanged $2.48 at Walmart. He filed a class action lawsuit five years ago but that suit failed.
When asked how common this is, the Manager of Tax and Licensing for the City of Aurora Trevor Vaughn answered, “Errors between jurisdictions are fairly common for tax collectors.”
Vaughn also addressed the difficulty associated with refunding taxes paid in one city that might not match the tax rate in another city.
“In theory it’s on the receipt and you would be able to see it where the transaction took place,” said Vaughn.
After Block complained to Walmart officials with no luck, he took an item purchased in Longmont to return at the Stapleton store. This time he received a full refund. Employees told him the previous discrepancies were because of a computer problem.
“They are now trying to get their computers to make the adjustment nationwide,” said Block.
CBS4 Investigator Rick Sallinger tested the process with his own return. He purchased an item in Aurora and returned it to a store in Denver where the entire amount was refunded.
“The happy ending would be to get people their money back for what they paid for,” said Block.
Walmart released this statement in regards to the sales tax issue: “This issue impacted a limited number of customers in Colorado and has been resolved. We are pleased that the City of Aurora Tax Division and KCNC both found that sales tax was properly refunded on their transactions.”
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Walmart Receipts