MONROEVILLE, Pa. — A western Pennsylvania woman won $100 plus court costs after she sued Kmart for twice collecting sales tax on a nontaxable necessity: toilet paper.
Mary Bach, of Murrysville, said Kmart offered to settle the case out of court before a Thursday hearing at which a Monroeville district judge sided with her. But the settlement required her to sign a confidentiality agreement, which would have defeated the purpose of her suit, Bach said.
"I want consumers as they shop during the important holiday to be aware of what is and what isn't taxable," Bach said after the verdict. "I would lose my ability to spread that message if I were gagged."
Bach sued in October after a Kmart store in Monroeville twice collected a 7 percent tax — 28 cents — when she bought a 12-roll package of toilet paper for $3.99.
Although most paper goods are taxable in Pennsylvania, toilet tissue is listed as a nontaxable item by the state Department of Revenue.
Kmart, a unit of Sears Holdings Corp., will not appeal the verdict.
"We don't want to fight with our customers," Kmart spokeswoman Kim Freely said. "We apologize for the inconvenience and the problem is being corrected."
Bach said shoppers "need to look at every line" on sales receipts when they shop.
Bach brought the suit under the state's Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law. Plaintiffs can sue for the amount of the damages or $100, whichever is more.
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