Check the tax on your TiVo receipt

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by bluefoggyday, Feb 15, 2013.

  1. bluefoggyday

    bluefoggyday New Member

    Feb 26, 2010


    I was sitting here doing my taxes and pulled out my TiVo XL4 receipt from September. The tax looked odd to me so I got out my calculator to figure it out. Here's what my receipt says:

    TiVo Product Lifetime $399.99 tax $49.00 Total $448.99
    TiVo Premiere XL4 $349.99 tax $0.00 Total $349.99
    Wireless G Adapter $0.00 tax $0.00 Total $0.00
    TiVo P. E w/Service letter $0.00 tax $0.00 Total $0.00

    Sub Total $749.98
    Shipping $0.00
    Tax $49.00
    Order Total $798.98

    Now in L.A. tax was 8.75% at the time. So, $399.99 x 8.75% = 34.99

    Not $49.00

    So I called TiVo and was on the phone for over an hour while they tried to figure it out. They sort of came up with the idea that I was charged tax on the MSRP of $499.99 for the XL4 and $59.99 for the Wireless G. Well, that would work, but that's not what my receipt says, AND the Wireless G was supposed to be free.

    So they put me through to a supervisor named Raymond, who was a total jerk. He told me I was wrong several times. He told me that tax in L.A. was 9% (it is now, but wasn't then). He told me that tax on $399.99 was $49.00, it's not, it's $34.99. He kept insisting he was right and I was wrong. I finally asked for his superior and he told me that HE was the supervisor and he didn't answer to anyone else. After dogging him more, he said he would have someone call me back. I hate that. No, unacceptable. So I finally got the number for corporate.

    Before I called them, I called the California Board of Equalization, told them the story and they basically said that TiVo is wrong and I should file a complaint. They said that a consumer MUST be able to extrapolate the tax they paid from the amounts listed on the receipt. So if the tax is based on the MSRP, that price needs to be on the receipt. They also verified that they can't charge tax on "free" items.

    So then I called corporate, got a really nice guy named David. He told me the same thing, that the tax is on the MSRP for the XL4 and the G adapter. He said because it's a "bundled" package, they can do that...not unlike a cell phone package.

    Well, the guy at the BOE told me that the only "bundle" that can do that, is a cellphone, not any other equipment.

    So now they're looking into the matter and will supposedly get back to me on Tuesday.

    If I'm right and they're wrong, they're going to have to do a lot of refunding to customers. So check your receipts and see what you paid and if it makes sense to you...make sure the tax is right according to the price listed on the receipt.

    I'd be interested to hear if others have the same problem.
  2. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

    Apr 17, 2000
    Was $15 really worth an hour of your time and all this hassle? Not saying they aren't wrong, but at some point you reach a point of diminishing returns.
  3. bluefoggyday

    bluefoggyday New Member

    Feb 26, 2010
    It's not about the money, it's the principle. If they are doing that to hundreds of customers, they're screwing a lot of people. Further, I wouldn't know ahead of time that it would take an hour.

    I don't believe in businesses breaking the law and getting away with it at the customer's expense.

    I never reached diminishing returns, the investigation is in full swing. I call that progress.
  4. Snake Plissken

    Snake Plissken New Member

    Nov 23, 2012
    Nice job :up:
  5. CoxInPHX

    CoxInPHX COX Communications

    Jan 14, 2011
    Phoenix, AZ


    I usually check out the "Bundle" pricing when TiVo has a special offer, and add the items to my cart just to see what the taxes are. And the taxes are always wrong, and for every instance I have checked on a Bundle I can never figure out how they get to the figure for the tax.

    One Bundle I checked TiVo was also charging tax on the Lifetime service.
  6. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    This does NOT answer your question, but there are various times (yes I'm weasling, it very well may be ALWAYS) where places are required to charge tax on the ENTIRE price, pre-rebate.

    Your $399.99 lifetime is discounted from $499.99, right? (Because of MSD.) Again, that does NOT answer the entire question, because tax on that would be $43.75..

    However, that may be part of the puzzle.
  7. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

    Apr 17, 2000
    It was very likely just a mistake. Their system probably got notice that the LA tax rate was going up to 9% and simply put it into effect a little early. I seriously doubt it was an intentional plan to screw you, or anyone else, out of an extra $15. And the guys you talk to on the phone probably didn't actually know what happened so they were just looking for a viable explanation in an effort to appease you and get you to let it go.

    You just bought an $800 TiVo is $15 really going to make or break the purchase for you?

    Honestly if it were me I never would have even noticed. When I buy something and they charge me tax I just assume it's right and pay it. I never double check their math. As long as I'm OK with the final price then who cares really?
  8. P42

    P42 Active Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Of course the extra tax money might not be ending up in Tivo's pockets.....but being sent right along. Ooops!
  9. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    Better for TiVo if that's true than if they were collecting it and not sending it in, because that would require some intentional cooking of the books.
  10. scandia101

    scandia101 Just the facts ma'am

    Oct 20, 2007
    MN, greater...
    Good for you, but thankfully, not everyone has such an apathetic attitude toward being taken advantage of.
  11. moedaman

    moedaman Member

    Aug 21, 2012
    I do the same thing and sometimes there is a glitch in the checkout. When they had them in the Clearance Center, I would put a Tivo XL in the checkout and the sales tax was always wrong. Often 4 times what it should have been. But if I put in a Premiere 320gb in the system first, then the XL would have the right amount applied. The 320gb model never had this glitch and adding the 320gb model second wouldn't change the wrong amount on the XL.

    Yes, I've seen those bundles where sales tax was also applied to the lifetime service. It's particularly galling to me since where I live (MIchigan) there is no sales tax on services.
  12. jrtroo

    jrtroo Chill- its just TV

    Feb 4, 2008
    I'm certainly going to keep tracking this. I remember complaining about being billed a non-Illinois tax rate a few years ago from Tivo. I complained, but the deal was pretty good so it did not make sense for me to sit arguing for an extended period. I would have been a pain "just because" if the deal was not so good. :)
  13. Tico

    Tico Bear Down Cats!!!!!

    Dec 9, 2002
    I know that with Cell phones for example you are Taxed on the Full retail.
    For example, If retail is 499 but the carrier discounts in to 99 because you sign a contract you are taxed on the 499 and not the 99.

    Wonder if there is something similiar going on here.
  14. steve614

    steve614 what ru lookin at?

    May 1, 2006
    Dallas, TX
    According to my billing history on, I was charged sales tax for my 3 lifetime services (6.6%).
    I obviously paid sales tax on the Tivos, all bought retail.
  15. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    I already mentioned that, and that wouldn't answer the full story, at least with the #s given.
  16. kettledrum

    kettledrum Active Member

    Nov 17, 2003
    Fishers, IN
    That receipt is weird. You were charged 12.25% on the lifetime service and no tax on anything else?

    I was overcharged sales tax by $315 on a $20.5k vehicle purchase several years ago. That's close to the same % difference as the example here. Did I complain about it? You bet your booty I did.

    I absolutely love my TiVo. I don't want TiVo to go out of business. But if they're not collecting the sales tax correctly, something needs to be done to change that. I applaud your efforts to being an informed and engaged consumer.
  17. Mike Pfeifer

    Mike Pfeifer What?

    Mar 16, 2011
    Dont forget about special taxing districts. Just because city wide its one number, doesn't mean there may not be special taxing districts that are higher in certain areas. By me, the tax rate is 7.5%, but right down the street at the mall, the tax rate is over 10%, same city limits.
  18. socrplyr

    socrplyr Active Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    I don't know if this is how it is in California, but when I lived elsewhere the local sales tax was not charged on internet orders. Only the state sales tax (that way there was no need to deal with local tax variations). I think I read that in California, the sales tax is broken out as 6.5% state, 1% uniform local, and special local (1.5% in LA's case). The $49 tax is suspiciously close to ($399.99 + $349.99) * 6.5% = $48.75.
  19. mrizzo80

    mrizzo80 Well-Known Member

    Apr 16, 2012
    I bought PLS last June. No tax. I added the 3 year extended warranty in late September and was charged $2.60 in tax on the $39.99 warranty; which is 6.5%.

    I live in Ohio.

    I don't care about the tax I paid, but why would anyone that doesn't live in California be charged tax on any order? TiVo has no retail presence in any state to my knowledge; I thought that is what determines whether an online retailer will charge you tax or not.

    I would expect California residents that bought items on after mid-September 2012 to be charged tax. CA law changed at that time.
  20. socrplyr

    socrplyr Active Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Retail presence doesn't matter. Business presence does. They have affiliated marketing and sales offices all over the place. (This is why many states have pushed back on Amazon. They have affiliates in just about every state. Amazon has tried to argue that controlled entities aren't a business presence via narrow definitional differences.)

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