FOX43 Finds Out: If you were wrongfully charged a sales tax by a popular clothing company, you can get your cash back

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YORK COUNTY, Pa -- Several LuLaRoe customers from Pennsylvania say they have been charged a sales tax when buying clothes from the company online.

Usually when that happens, they were buying from a consultant out of state.

Ashley Hall of Dover, York County says she's been a loyal LuLaRoe customer for about a year.

It's a company that makes these patterned leggings and are popular online.

Recently, she noticed what she says is a sales tax on one of her bills.

According to state tax code, Pennsylvania consumers should not be charged a sales tax on most clothing items.

Hall says she didn't even realize that.

"If I were to go to Maryland and shop, I would pay sales tax on those clothes. so it was nothing to me," said Hall.

The way LuLaRoe sells clothing is mostly online.

Hall says she bought most of these leggings from different consultants from different states.

"I have a girl in Georgia. i get charged sales tax. I have a couple in Maryland, I get charged sales tax."

Then, she found out about class action lawsuit against LuLaRoe.

In that lawsuit, Rachael Webster of Allegheny County says she was charged more than $35 dollars in sales tax.

Hall added up the amount she says she's been charged in sales tax and it comes out to about 18 bucks.

"To each their own, if you don't want to pay the sales tax and you want to bark up the trees to get your sales tax money back, more power to you. i don't have time for that."

Randi Wiland from Windsor in York county is also a big fan of LuLaRoe clothing.

"24 pairs of leggings, quite a few shirts and i have one dress," said Wiland.

She has not been charged a sales tax, saying most of the consultants she buys from are in Pennsylvania.

She says even if she was charged a tax, she wouldn't try to sue for the money back.

"If it's just a couple of dollars, ya know what's it matter? but I don't think it should have been a huge lawsuit."

However, the lawyer who filed the class action lawsuit says, regardless of the amount of money, online companies shouldn't be charging Pennsylvania residents a sales tax on clothing.

"The only way you can redress these types of unlawful acts in an effective way is through class action location like this case," said Attorney Bruce Carlson.

He says LuLaRoe has known about the sales tax issue for more than a year and still hasn't done anything about it.

"The sales tax is charged based upon the state of residence of the consultant as opposed to the state of residence of the purchaser and that is unlawful," said Carlson.

We also reached out to LuLaRoe to hear what the company has to say about the class action lawsuit.

A representative sent us a statement saying in part: "We are fully aware of this issue and have invested significant resources to address it. A former technology vendor had a software failure that misidentified the accurate location of certain customers, and we have contracted a new point of sale vendor to accurately identify sales tax moving forward."

As for Ashley Hall, she says the extra charges won't stop her from get.

"My bank account wishes I wouldn't be, but yes. I'm still buying."

The lawyer who filed the suit says he plans to move forward with the litigation and a jury trial could take place sometime in 2018.

Here's the full statement from LuLaRoe and how customers who were charged a sales tax can get their money back:

"We are fully aware of this issue and have invested significant resources to address it.  A former technology vendor had a software failure that misidentified the accurate location of certain customers, and we have contracted a new point of sale vendor to accurately identify sales tax moving forward. In addition, we have already issued refunds for incorrect sales tax collection to customers who contacted us directly to identify their proper location, and we are in the process of proactively refunding all affected customers. We have an independent, dedicated account of all sales tax collected that is segregated from the operating funds of the company. LuLaRoe is committed to our thousands of passionate Independent Retailers and consumers who love and support our quality brand. We stand behind the integrity and quality of our products, and take any concerns seriously.  By and large, consumers love our products. We encourage our Independent Retailers to remind their customers that they can contact them to help facilitate an exchange or full refund if they are unsatisfied with their product."

Here is some information from the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue if you think you've been wrongly charged a sales tax:

Consumers who believe Pennsylvania sales tax was incorrectly charged have options. The first step is to request a refund from the retailer. If that is unsuccessful, a consumer can file a petition for refund with the department’s Board of Appeals if the company has remitted the sales tax to us.

The department may additionally send a letter to the retailer clarifying the applicability of the sales tax in Pennsylvania.

Retailers collect sales tax in trust for the Commonwealth and any tax that has not been refunded must be remitted to the Department of Revenue by the due date even if the tax was collected in error.

When we determine that sales tax was collected, but not remitted, the department takes enforcement action. This may include an assessment against entity and its owners or officers, assessing penalties, and potentially initiating a criminal investigation.

Under state law, anyone intentionally failing to remit sales tax could be charged with up to a felony of the third degree which has a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment and a $15,000 fine.

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