Is the price right at Tim Hortons?

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.

Author: Ellen Roseman

Consumer advocate and personal finance author and instructor.

110 thoughts on “Is the price right at Tim Hortons?”

  1. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are pocketing the higher amount and that its a deliberate ploy. How coe the error is always on the higher side and not on the lower side ? How come they always overcharge you and never undercharge you on the taxes ?

  2. I have two Tim Cards and I wanted to transfer “some” funds from one to another so that my wife and I could both enjoy the convenience of paying with a simple swipe.

    Tim Horton’s has made it impossible to do a simple transfer between the cards. Preemptive measure to prevent fraud? That’s BS.

    I have registered both cards at Tim Horton’s website and they have my name and address and everything. Yet, I cannot do that.

    Called their call centre and they sent me to store. I go to store and they refer me to call centre. I’m very annoyed.

  3. I get the same thing every day, a breakfast sandwich with bacon, a medium coffee and hash browns.

    Every day, I am given a different price, originally $4.60 to now always $5.05, $5.20 and at most $5.50.

    Today, I was charged $5.65.

    Is Tim Hortons like the stock market? I don’t see me going there any more. I feel like I’m getting ripped off.

    The gap of 50-70 cents a day is ridiculous. I ask for my bill and it’s punched in right. So I’ve given up on them.

    This is a ridiculous pricing system.

  4. I got a coffee today and the receipt said I pay 10 cents in provincial sales tax (PST). Does the PST not go straight to the government? Has anybody found the same thing elsewhere?

  5. Fighting over a fifty cent difference is for insufferable cheapskate morons. Don’t like the price? Want to pay less? Buy donuts and bagels and coffee at the grocery store and make it at home. Stick it in a brown bag and thermos and bring it with you if you’re going out – or save even more money buy making a one-time purchase of a reusable lunch bag.

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