April 19 2007 by Ellen Roseman
The coffee is a great deal, but you may get clipped by cashier error if you order food to go with it. A reader, Ross T in Kingston, has found frequent mispricing.
Purchase 1 Medium Coffee, 1 Donut, 1 Chicken Salad sandwich under the sandwich deal. Last year, I went to several different Tim Hortons and they seemed to overcharge me more often than they got it right. The deal is $3.99 plus tax. The correct total should be $4.23 but I’ve been charged $4.89.
Meals of $3.99 or less are exempt from Ontario sales tax. Only GST should be charged. However, even with 14% sales taxes, it shouldn’t add up to $4.89.
Sometimes the clerks redo the transaction and sometimes the managers have to be summoned. Just imagine the hundreds of thousands of meals sold every day and the mistaken overcharges.
Ross later realized that other meals could be mispriced, not just the $3.99 sandwich deal, when he went to Tim Hortons with a friend.
They must have seen me coming, since they got my order right. My friend bought a BLT sandwich deal for $5.25 and the total was $6.80. When I questioned the amount, it was soon corrected to a $5.99 total.
I don’t believe the problem is related to sales tax, but to pushing the wrong buttons on the cash register at the customer’s expense.
So, here’s what I want to know. Have you had the same problem? Tim Hortons is busy, with line-ups out the door and lots of part-time staff. Maybe other fast food chains are vulnerable to pricing errors, too.