Woman battles Sears over HST rebate
Raffaela MacMillan took a gamble on a Sears offer last year involving the Harmonized Sales Tax, which said she'd get her $515.63 HST refunded if the tax was repealed in the referendum.
The deal was a part of the company's Harmonized Sales Tax Protection Program.
"And I thought, ‘well, there's a 50-50 chance of getting it,' so considering all the other promotions I was looking at I thought that was a good deal for me," she said.
So when British Columbians said no to the HST Raffaela asked Sears for her tax refund, but it wasn't that simple.
The person from Sears she spoke with said they would offer her three per cent back, well short of the 12 per cent she felt she was eligible for through the promotion.
MacMillan persisted and says she was then told she wouldn't get her tax back at all because the Clark government hadn't officially rolled the HST back yet.
That's when she called CTV News out of frustration.
"I bought the furnace in good faith, so yeah, I was disappointed. I thought they would treat it as an agreement and honour it," she said.
When Steele on Your Side contacted Sears Canada, the department store admitted: "It looks like a mistake was made, and Sears is working on correcting it."
MacMillan said she feels like her wishes were ignored until the media stepped in to help.
"I did not get too much action until I contacted you, so I feel that maybe they feel pressure from the media," she said.
But it turns out her tax troubles weren't over yet. Sears tax protection program stated it would only "refund the hst difference" and "in keeping with this commitment...you are entitled to seven per cent of the pre-tax amount."
So it still fell short of the 12 per cent she had hoped for. Lynda Steele contacted Vincent Power of Sears communications to ask if he felt the promotion was clear enough.
"You know, I would say that Sears stands behind the commitment it made and that we wanted people to feel that they could buy their products without worrying that they would be paying more if the HST was reversed," he said.
MacMillan's final refund is seven per cent, or about $300. It's not what she expected but it's a whole lot better than the original offer of three per cent.
She said that while she's grateful for the media's help she's still very disappointed in the company.
She says she was led to believe by the salesperson she would get the full HST back and says the protection plan language is confusing.
Sears said it has gone back into every customer file to make sure the HST refund was handled appropriately.
Watch CTV News for a full report from Lynda Steele…