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Minor hiccups as Manitobans adjust to PST cut

Officials with the provincial finance department say they have received only a "handful" of complaints from Manitobans who say businesses have overcharged them on the PST.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 02/07/2019 (1306 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Officials with the provincial finance department say they have received only a “handful” of complaints from Manitobans who say businesses have overcharged them on the PST.

Effective July 1, the provincial sales tax was lowered in Manitoba to seven per cent from eight per cent — fulfilling a major promise by the Progressive Conservative government.

However, during the first two days of the new tax regime, a couple of glitches were reported to the Free Press by members of the public.

Wyatt Delbridge ordered two pies from Pizza Pizza on Monday evening, and was wrongly charged eight per cent in PST. He forwarded a copy of the sales receipt, which showed he paid $2.40 in PST on a $29.98 order, instead of the correct $2.10.

“We can confirm that Pizza Pizza locations across Manitoba charged consumers a PST amount of eight per cent on July 1, 2019. We have worked quickly to rectify the error and as of (Tuesday), all restaurants will be charging the correct PST amount of seven per cent. Consumers affected by the price change can bring their order receipts to a Pizza Pizza location and will be refunded the difference.”

A local customer service rep with the pizza chain referred a reporter to the corporation’s head office, which issued a statement late Tuesday.

“We can confirm that Pizza Pizza locations across Manitoba charged consumers a PST amount of eight per cent on July 1, 2019,” the statement read. “We have worked quickly to rectify the error and as of (Tuesday), all restaurants will be charging the correct PST amount of seven per cent. Consumers affected by the price change can bring their order receipts to a Pizza Pizza location and will be refunded the difference.”

Meanwhile, Lloyd Voth first thought Home Depot at Polo Park had overcharged him, when his bill indicated he had paid a PST of eight per cent. However, when he checked the math, he found the company actually charged seven per cent — even though the tax rate on the receipt read eight per cent.

Erika Botond, Home Depot senior manager of public relations and corporate communications, said Tuesday the company was now ensuring customer receipts matched the tax being charged.

“Our teams are aware, and have taken steps to adjust this printing error, ASAP,” she said in an email.

Toby Talbot / The Associated Press Files A customer at the Home Depot at Polo Park said his bill indicated he had paid a PST of eight per cent but when he checked the math, he found the company actually charged seven per cent — even though the tax rate on the receipt read eight.

John Graham, director of government relations (Prairies) with the Retail Council of Canada, said it’s not unusual for there to be a few retail “stragglers” anytime there is a tax change.

“It was a long weekend. It landed on a day that many stores would have been closed,” he said. “So it might be a bit of a catch-up (Tuesday).”

Although he couldn’t say whether the province had reached out to storeowners directly, Graham noted the Retail Council had repeatedly messaged its members about the tax change, most recently last week.

Council members represent 70 per cent of all retail sales in the province, he said.

While the finance department had received just a few calls from consumers by mid-day Tuesday, it said it was reaching out to “the businesses in question” to remind them to comply with the new lower tax rate.

“If a consumer is charged eight per cent in error at the point of sale, they should ask the retailer to refund them the difference,” a spokesman said in an email.

He said the government notified Manitobans about the PST rate reduction in the March 7 provincial budget.

“The province also provided multiple types of public advertisements to ensure consumers and businesses are aware of the rate reduction starting on July 1, 2019,” the government spokesman said.

Meanwhile, due to rounding, some consumers won’t save any money from the PST reduction when paying in cash for some small items.

For instance, a medium coffee at Tim Hortons will still cost $1.95, if you’re paying cash.

Specifically, the $1.73 coffee that used to cost a total $1.9549 under the old tax regime (including PST and GST) now costs $1.9376. When paying cash, the prices are rounded to the nearest nickel.

larry.kusch@freepress.mb.ca

Larry Kusch

Larry Kusch
Legislature reporter

Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.

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