Shopping Discussion

BC Customers: PST refund on safety equipment

  • Last Updated:
  • May 30th, 2019 4:45 pm
Jr. Member
Jan 12, 2010
175 posts

BC Customers: PST refund on safety equipment

This is more of a "public service announcement" than anything.

Yesterday I bought 7 smoke alarms from Home Depot and was charged PST on them. I didn't think much of it until I saw the same smoke alarms on a good sale at so I bought those too, with the intention on returning the Home Depot ones. I found it odd that I wasn't charged PST by BestBuy. I figured it was an error and I was about to post a "Hot Deal" here when I stopped to think about it: "Hmm, maybe there isn't supposed to be PST on smoke alarms?". So I did some Googling and I came across PST Bulletin 100 which details a whole swath of items that are PST exempt (including smoke alarms, of course)


If a large retailer like Home Depot is incorrectly charging PST on smoke alarms... what else?

I saw child car seats are also on that list, so I dug up a receipt for our kid's seat and sure enough... PST was charged on that too (that was a specialty kid store that really should know better!).

I called the PST help line and they confirmed that you have 180 days to bring it to the retailer's attention and request a refund. IF they refuse (which, oddly, they are allowed to do) OR it is outside of 180 days, then you can request a refund from the Ministry so long as the total owed is greater than $10. Another caveat is that you have FOUR YEARS to file for the refund. This means I won't be getting the PST back for the car seat (4.5 years ago).

But it is worthwhile keeping this list in mind.
2 replies
Deal Fanatic
Oct 26, 2008
6359 posts
Good information. Over the years I have pointed out to retailers they shouldn't be charging PST on certain items.

The discussion seldom went well. It is quite a challenge for them to keep on top of things like this.
What with only certain types of safety gloves qualifying, etc. Steel-toe boots and strap-on cleats should be straightforward though

Should it be the responsibility of top management, the accounting dept. or computer systems team leaders to ensure that these exemptions are built in and up-to-date?

Hard to say which - and therein lies the problem.
Not much point in a store manager making it right with an individual customer but not having the will nor the know-how to fix the system.
Same with getting a refund from the Ministry of Finance - the store continues to erroneously charge the tax.
You might have found a different Home Depot location did it right, and by the same token a different BB had it wrong.
(That definitely applies to big box stores that are individually owned like Cdn. Tire - not positive about HD and BB.)

Hopefully your PSA will result in more BC RFD'ers raising the issue and bringing pressure on retailers to get it right.