So much for the Christmas spirit. A North Carolina jeweler who returned thousands of dollars in a holiday snow promotion was sued because he didn’t refund one man’s sales tax.
Last October, Alan Perry, owner of Perry’s Emporium in Wilmington, N.C., announced that customers’ holiday purchases would be free if 3 inches of snow fell on Christmas in Asheville, N.C. When 6 inches fell, Perry refunded some $400,000 (mostly paid for by insurance).
But local resident Tom O’Neill took Perry to small claims court, arguing he paid $7,616 for his jewelry, but was reimbursed only $7,052 (the total sans sales tax).
On March 28, a local judge dismissed the case, ruling that tax revenues belong to the state of North Carolina. Perry tells JCK that line No. 7 of the promotion rules said that the cost of sales tax was excluded.
“I had 400-plus customers, and I had one who wasn’t happy,” he says. “We had the rules posted on the counter, but we didn’t have time to tell all the customers. It was Christmas. We were busy as hell.”
Despite the lawsuit, Perry plans to continue the profit-boosting promos. He ran one timed to Valentine’s Day. And while it didn’t snow, his store did see a 138 percent sales bump, says the retailer: “We had the best February in company history.”