Steele on Your Side takes your questions
Every Friday CTV Consumer Reporter Lynda Steele dips into the CTV mailbag and answers a handful of viewer questions.
The first question comes from Ana, who wrote CTV News to ask about the high price of parking. She wants to know if the government is charging two taxes on parking and the answer surprised even us. When Ana recently parked at a downtown hotel she was charged a 21 per cent parking tax, then HST on top of that. We checked into it, and discovered that starting in January of 2010, a 21 per cent parking tax has been charged at commercial parking lots within Metro Vancouver. The tax is collected by TransLink. On top of that, the government charges 12 per cent HST. So yes Ana, there are two taxes being charged on parking in commercial lots and at hotels and motels.
When the new tax came in a group of 30 businesses formed the "Drive out the Tax" initiative to fight the 200 per cent tax increase on parking. If you're interested in more information, you can find it on this website.
Our second question comes from Ralph, who asks: If you cancel a non-refundable airline ticket, what happens to the tax collected on that ticket? Do you get that money back?
If you cancel a non-refundable ticket you would receive all the government taxes back. However, airline policies differ when it comes to other surcharges, like the fuel and security charges. In many cases, you would not get that money back.
Because each airline has its own policy when it comes to refunds, it's important to ask the airline, but at the very least the government tax portion of your ticket would be refunded, even if your base fare is not.
And finally, we have an update on a story we aired in May about real estate square footage.
Don and Melody Williams called us after discovering their Mission home was actually 232 square feet smaller than the listing realtor said it was. The Williams wanted other home buyers to know that you may not be getting what you pay for when it comes to square footage. They filed a formal complaint with the Real Estate Council of B.C. and it has ruled that the square footage of the Williams' home was calculated differently by several people over the years, including the developer, an appraiser and at least two realtors. It says, "There does not appear to be any certainty as to which of the measurement calculations is correct."
So the council has dismissed the complaint and told the Williams their only recourse now is to take civil action against the listing realtor.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Lynda Steele