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Money in the Story: Woman vs Kmart

Posted by jenwae on December 14, 2007

Not many of us think highly of toilet paper. We roll it out, tear a little piece off, wipe our butt, and then flush it down for good. That’s all we do, giving little thought. So it is no surprise that we don’t think much when buying toilet paper from retail shop. But you might learn a bit or two from this woman in Murrysville, Pennsylvania.

Mary Bach purchased some toilet paper in October from Kmart, and was assessed a 28 cents sales tax. She complained about being charged for an item that is not subject to the 7% sales tax in Pennsylvania. The store management did not budge, so she paid, grudgingly.

Later, Bach brought her complaint to 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.

She won, and was awarded $100 plus court costs by the judge.

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.”

Apparently, Kmart has offered Bach an out-of-court settlement if she consented to sign a confidentiality agreement – she rejected.

Bach reminded shoppers to check their sales receipts when they shop.

So there you go. Whether you are standing up for the truth, or upholding your principles, don’t undermine your ability to make a difference, even if it seems tiny – Bach did it with 28 cents.


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