A woman from Murrysville, Pennsylvania has won a law suit against retailer Kmart after the store assessed her 28 cents for sales tax on toilet paper, an item that is not subject to sales tax in Pennsylvania.
Mary Bach purchased the toilet paper in October, reluctantly paying the 7 percent charge for sales tax after her complaint about the over-charge fell on store management's deaf ears.
Bach brought the suit under the state's Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law. Under Pennsylvania law, plaintiffs can sue for the amount of the damages or $100, whichever is more.
Before the court appearance, Kmart offered to settle with Bach out of court if she would sign a confidentiality agreement. Bach refused the offer.
A Monroeville district judge ruled in Bach's favor, awarding her $100 plus court costs.
After receiving the verdict, Bach said, "I want consumers as they shop during the important holiday to be aware of what is and what isn't taxable. I would lose my ability to spread that message if I were gagged."
Bach recommends that shoppers "need to look at every line" on sales receipts when they shop.
Kmart, a unit of Sears Holdings Corp., has indicated it will not appeal the verdict.
"We don't want to fight with our customers," Kmart spokeswoman Kim Freely said. "We apologize for the inconvenience and the problem is being corrected."