The short answer to the question of whether it's illegal not to refund sales tax is yes. If you bought something and paid sales tax for it, then you should receive that same sales tax back if you return the item. In general, this should happen regardless of location, and regardless of whether or not you bought the item online. However, there may be restrictions or exceptions depending on how long it's been since you returned the item and whether or not you had the original receipt.
Sales tax rates and laws vary between states, and can differ depending on whether a company has a brick and mortar store or operates fully online. Since these issues can get complex, if a retailer refuses to refund your sales tax and you believe you are entitled to it, you should call a consumer fraud lawyer for a consultation. Markoff Leinberger serves Chicago and the entire United States, and we offer free consultations. Call 888-517-9115 for yours.
What To Do If Your Refund Doesn't Include Sales Tax
If you returned an item and your refund didn't include the sales tax, the first thing to do is to talk to an employee and see if they can resolve the issue for you. Most businesses want to make you happy so you will purchase from them again, and you may find that you can get your sales tax back easily.
Keep in mind that some stores and state laws have time limits regarding refunds. It's in your best interest to act as soon as possible after noticing your refund amount was incorrect.
If you can't get your sales tax refunded even after talking to an employee, manager, or store owner, then you may be able to file a dispute. Write a letter addressed to the company's "billing inquiry" address, and include:
- Your name
- Your account number
- A description of the error
- A copy of the original receipt
Use certified mail for tracking, and send the letter within 60 days of the first billing cycle. Under the Fair Credit Billing Act, businesses must acknowledge your letter and give a response within 30 days, and resolve the issue within two billing cycles.
When to Call A Consumer Fraud Lawyer for Sales Tax Issues
Often, the amount of sales tax you weren't refunded isn't really high enough to justify hiring a lawyer. There are exceptions, though. If a business is refusing to refund sales tax to everyone who makes a return, you may have grounds for a class action lawsuit.
Class action lawsuits are a great way to take action against an unscrupulous company when the monetary amount involved isn't enough to justify a single lawsuit. In a class action, everyone who has been affected takes part, and the company involved typically ends up paying out a settlement to each person involved. Class action lawsuits can be a pivotal force in making a company change its ways through the power of numbers. Even the smallest amount of money taken fraudulently from a consumer can be a catalyst for a class action suit, as long as many more consumers were defrauded of similar amounts.
Schedule Your Complimentary Consultation
If you have been defrauded out of sales tax rightfully owed to you, call Markoff Leinberger today at 888-517-9115 to schedule your complimentary consultation. We serve clients in Chicago and nationwide.