Class action lawsuit claims Walmart charges too much sales tax on reduced-price items

By Payton Kuhn | Apr 10, 2019

GREENBELT, Md. (Legal Newsline) – A Maryland man alleges Walmart misrepresented the sales price of items by including and collecting amounts in excess of sale taxes from shoppers.

In a lawsuit filed on Feb. 13 in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court, plaintiff Robert Van Buren of Annapolis alleged the megacorporation applied a heightened sales tax on items based on their original price when they were sold at a reduced price. Van Buren alleges he and class members are entitled to compensation for all items sold in this manner.

The defendant filed to remove the case to the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland on March 27.

Van Buren alleges that throughout 2018, he bought multiple items that were sold at reduced prices, including a Sonicare product and a nearly $200 Brindale mattress, and was assigned a sales tax that was to be applied to their original costs. He also claims to have experienced similar cases with purchases at Sam’s Club, a subsidiary of Walmart.

"The sales tax that is due should be calculated based on the purchase price paid by the customers for that particular item," the suit states. "If an item is on sale or sold at a reduced price, only the amount of the sale or reduced price is the amount subject to sales tax. Walmart overstates the sales taxes on sale items by calculating the sales tax based on the regular price of the item, not the on sale or reduced price of the item."

Van Buren seeks to represent class members who “within the last three years," had similar experiences at Walmart and Sam’s Club stores. Van Buren, who is specifically alleging that Walmart committed fraud and negligent misrepresentation, is requesting the case go to trial and for Walmart to pay in excess of $75,000 each for punitive damages and compensatory damages, along with whatever awards the court may find necessary.

This claim follows numerous settlements the company reached in recent years. The first occurred in 2015, in which it was accused of undercutting sales tax amounts on refunded items. Although it denied those allegations, the company paid more than $5 million in a settlement.

In October of last year, after Walmart allegedly used similar practices at its Pennsylvania locations, it agreed to pay up to $45 million to settle a class action lawsuit.

The plaintiff is represented by attorneys from the Holland Law Firm in Annapolis, Maryland.

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Anne Arundel County Circuit Court U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland Greenbelt Division

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