Lawsuit Filed by Spangenberg Shibley & Liber Accuses Wal-Mart of Failing to Properly Refund Sales Tax

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A class-action lawsuit filed against retail giant Wal-Mart alleges that customers got shortchanged when returning products to a different store location than the one from which they purchased the product.

Walmart Class Action Lawsuit

Walmart Class Action Lawsuit

Unlike many other major retailers, Wal-Mart hasn’t taken the steps to make sure it is refunding consumers what they actually paid for their products

The lawsuit (Case Number: 1:14-cv-965 in the United States District Court, Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division) was filed by two Ohio residents on behalf of themselves and those similarly situated in federal court in Cleveland. The Plaintiffs are represented by attorneys at the Ohio class action law firm Spangenberg Shibley & Liber, LLP, and consumer attorney Daniel J. Myers.

Wal-Mart allows customers of its Walmart and Sam’s Club stores to return products to any of its other Walmart or Sam’s Club stores, respectively. The Plaintiffs allege, however, that when a customer returns something to a different store location, Wal-Mart does not refund the amount the customer paid. Instead, according to allegations in the lawsuit, Wal-Mart calculates the amount to return by re-calculating the total purchase amount based on the sales tax charged by the store to which the customer is returning the product.

Per court documents, the Plaintiffs allege that when the customer returns the product to a store with a lower sales tax, Wal-Mart shortchanges them the difference. The Plaintiffs allege that other retailers do not shortchange customers this way and that Wal-Mart breaches the sales contract with its customers when it does. Plaintiffs allege that Wal-Mart’s practice costs consumers millions of dollars.

“Unlike many other major retailers, Wal-Mart hasn’t taken the steps to make sure it is refunding consumers what they actually paid for their products,” said Spangenberg attorney William Eadie, citing documents filed with the court. “Many people may not even notice the difference, because they’re returning something that was on a receipt with other items, and didn’t calculate the full amount paid for the item when including sales tax. Those pennies add up very quickly for consumers.”

The civil action is captioned Brandewie v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Cleveland Division on behalf of all Walmart and Sam’s Club consumers in the United State who returned items and allegedly received less than they paid because of a difference in sales tax rates.

If you believe you have returned products and been shortchanged by the sales tax differences between stores, you can find a copy of the complaint and get more information on the Spangenberg law firm’s Walmart Class Action page. The Spangenberg Law Firm is not seeking class representatives or clients for this case at this time.

For more information about class action cases in general or to learn more about Spangenberg Shibley & Liber law firm, visit their website at

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Barbara Andelman
since: 11/2011
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