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.

CBS4 Investigator Rick Sallinger looks at the receipt from Walmart shopper Anthony Block (credit: CBS)

CBS4 Investigator Rick Sallinger looks at the receipt from Walmart shopper Anthony Block (credit: CBS)

“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.”

LINK: Walmart Return Policy Class Action Lawsuit Information

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Walmart Receipts

Comments (2)
  1. I live in Falmouth Ma My Experience with Walmart is when i went to exchange a bike that i purchased for a needy fund child for christmas i was told no receipt you can only get store credit which was fine until the sale lady told me that i won’t get my sale tax money refunded, She said it a policy and i ask to see the policy the manger came over and said the same thing no receipt no tax refund I again asked to see the policy they wasn’t able to produce no such policy. I mentioned if this large company has a policy they should be able to show me the policy. I also mentioned if i use the gift card i will be taxed again for the same money he didn’t know how to responded. Plymouth Ma Walmart called me also they said the same thing all i asked was he able to email me the policy, He said i could go on line and research it myself I said great customer service he has I again mentioned if i go into the store they should be able to print one out i ashed him why they wasn’t able to do this in the first place he couldn’t answer me.When i went on line their seems that i’m not the only one this happening to in Walmart around the different states

  2. This just happened at the Walmart located 444 Wadsworth blvd Lakewood, CO 80226
    The assistant manager said they don’t adjust the tax to reflect the original purchase price its against the law. I told him to get his manager and that manager said, “they don’t teach the employees at guest services how to reflect the tax difference because it would require math”! Yes, this just happened 11/24/17

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