Walmart And Sam's Club Might Owe You Money. Here's Why

Have you ever bought anything at either Walmart or Sam's Club and then changed your mind? Maybe it didn't work right, maybe it didn't fit, maybe you just realized you didn't actually need or even want it, so you boxed it up and brought it back to the store, right? Luckily both stores have less-than-stringent returns policies, so they probably refunded your money without subjecting you to too much of an inquisition. The thing is, however, that if you bought an article that cost, say, $9.99 and you received the entire $9.99 back, you may still have been shortchanged.

If you live in one of the 45 states (plus the District of Columbia) that Tax Foundation says collect state sales tax or even one of the 38 states where additional local taxes may be tacked on top of the state charges, then your $9.99 purchase may actually have cost you close to $11. If you purchased the item you returned along with a cartful of other merchandise you didn't return, you may not have realized that you should have received back some $10+. Walmart and Sam's, however, should have known better, and Top Class Actions reveals that they are now being made to pay for their misdeeds by settling a class-action suit filed against them.

How to get your refund

If you made a purchase at either Walmart or Sam's Club between July 17, 2015, and November 25, 2020, and subsequently returned that purchase in a sales tax-charging states but were refunded only the actual purchase price, well, you may consider yourself part of the class-action lawsuit. While Walmart has never admitted to any culpability, it has earmarked $5 million to pay the defendants in a 2017 lawsuit that was filed on behalf of all affected customers.

All you'll need to do in order to receive your compensation is to file a claim online at the Pearlstone v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. website. One thing that won't be required is any proof of each return transaction on which you may have lost out on the tax you paid. If you do have such detailed records, you will, of course, have the option of pursuing legal action on your own, in which case you will need to opt out of participating in the class-action suit.

What kind of refund are we talking about?

If you do choose the easy, class action opt-in, however, you have until April 1st to file a claim, and then, if all goes well, you will get your payment sometime later in the spring. Be aware, though, that the amount you receive will not be determined based on your own personal purchase and return history. Instead, you will be sharing the compensation with all of your co-defendants, however many of them there may be. Not to mention, that $5 million also has to cover all of the legal fees for the lawsuit. (It is to be hoped that these won't amount to more than, say $4.9 mil or so.)

Chances are, you might not get more than a few bucks, since this tends to be the case with most class action suits. After all, when everyone wants a piece of the pie, you're only going to end up with the tiniest sliver. At least you won't have to work too hard for it, though, since all you'll really need to do is to supply your contact info and either an email address for a digital payment or a physical address for a check. Hey, maybe if you get lucky, they'll send you enough to buy yourself a whole rotisserie chicken!