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Shopper Claims BJ’s|Games the Sales Tax

(CN) - BJ's Wholesale Club improperly charges its Florida members sales tax on amounts that are not properly taxable, a class action claims.

BJ's has about 31 stores in the state of Florida where they serve thousands of customers or "members," the complaint states.

Lead plaintiff Laura Bugliaro says that as a BJ's member she received discounts provided by BJ's and used them for her purchases at its stores. These special discounts under Florida law are known as "dealer's reductions."

In such situations, "Florida law requires dealer retailers like BJ's to collect sales tax on only the discounted price ... as opposed to collecting sales time on the item's full, undiscounted price," the complaint says.

But in a lawsuit filed in Miami-Dade County circuit court, Bugliaro claims that BJ's charged Florida customers who use it discounts the sales tax on the full item price.

On November 22, 2014, Bugliaro says that she purchased a 55-inch Samsung television at one of BJ's South Florida stores located in Cutler Bay for a discounted sales price of $769.99 without tax. However, she claims that BJ's inappropriately charged and collected from her sales tax on the full retail price of the television which was $1,399.99.

She alleges that the same situation occurred on November 30, 2014, when she went to another BJ's Wholesale Club location in Miami and bought a different Samsung television. The original price of the item was $529.99, and she paid the promotional price of $329.99, but BJ's once again charged her sales tax on the full price.

Bugliaro claims that since BJ's only has to report the sales tax on the discounted price to the state, the wholesaler is effectively pocketing the excess sales tax collected.

Plaintiff claims that BJ's acts were fraudulent and deliberately done to induce her and other similarly situated individuals to pay more money than it was legally due when they purchased an item with a dealer discount.

Bugliaro seeks unspecified damages on claims of violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation and unjust enrichment.

She is represented by Steve Silverman from Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine PL in Miami.

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