February 6, 2018 1:50 am
Updated: February 6, 2018 1:51 am

Walmart customer was charged $32.50 too much for an environmental handling fee

Walmart Canada is looking to hear from customers in B.C. after a Global News investigation revealed the big box retailer overcharged the recycling fee on a certain electronics' product. Consumer Matters reporter Anne Drewa explains.


A Vancouver man said he expected more from Walmart Canada after he was overcharged an Environmental Handling Fee (EHF) for his home entertainment system.

“It’s third grade. It’s not what I expect from a top American company,” Colin Roleston told Global News.

Consumer Matters coverage on Globalnews.ca:

Rolston’s battle with the retail giant began on Boxing Day.

He’s legally blind and he sent his friend Candice Muys to pick up a Samsung Blu-ray player — a surround sound Model HT J4500 — from Walmart  in Vancouver.

Muys said she bought the product and immediately called Colin to ensure she had the right model and price.

“Is that right?” Rolston asked.

A closer look at the receipt revealed that Rolston was charged a $35 fee.

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The EHF is applied to all new electronics in B.C. Retailers collect the fee and 100 per cent of it is handed over to the non-profit Electronic Products Recycling Association (EPRA).

Rolston looked up the EHF, only to find that he should have been charged $2.50 for his product.

READ MORE: Electronic waste is piling up. Here’s why you should care

Muys said she notified Walmart customer service and the store manager about the overcharge, but said she was dismissed by the retailer.

“They told us to take it up with the government and that was it,” Muys siad.

Muys refunded the Blu-ray player and Roleston went to the competition, where he said he received a better deal and was charged the accurate EHF of $2.50 for the same product.

Consumer Matters reached out to Walmart Canada about Roleston’s experience.

Walmart Canada said:

“This is a very complex program involving tens of thousands of products. After an investigation, we discovered we made a programming error in our point-of-sale systems on this product. The error has been corrected and we apologize for the inconvenience this has caused. It is worth noting that the excess electronic handling fees inadvertently charged were passed on to the EPRA BC, and did not go to Walmart.”

Consumer Matters also reached out to EPRA.

“That money would have come to EPRA to finance our organization, but that fee is easily transferred back to Walmart,” said Craig Wisehart, EPRA BC’s executive director.

Walmart Canada has told Consumer Matters it’s not aware of any other products being affected and that its records indicate less than 160 customers in B.C. were inadvertently charged.

The retail giant recommends customers who believe they were inadvertently charged to return to the store with a receipt, where they will be reimbursed the difference between the charged fee and the adjusted, correct fee.

Customers with questions can contact Walmart Canada at: 1-800-328-0402 or email: heretohelp.ca@walmart.com

Go here for more information on the Environmental Handling Fee.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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