CityWest Advises Customers of PST Mistake

Brittany Webster

If you're a customer of CityWest, you may have been paying too much in taxes for your phone.

The telecommunications company, which is owned by the City of Prince Rupert, sent out letters to their customers last week saying they've been charging provincial sales tax on phone features that should be PST-exempt for residential subscribers.

The company stated in a Facebook post (see below) that the error was discovered in January of this year and was immediately changed.

[PHOTO:   Google] 

Those affected by the mistake can apply to the provincial government for a refund for the previous four years and must provide proof of the charges.

CityWest estimates the refund for four years will amount to about $61.00 per customer, or approximately 79 cents per month.


There have been a few comments from the public and the local media regarding a letter we recently sent to our customers. We'd like to clarify a few things.

The letter concerned an error with PST calculation which we discovered at the end of January 2019. We realized that we were charging PST on phone features, which are actually PST-exempt for residential subscribers. As soon as we discovered the error, we immediately stopped charging PST on phone features, and we took steps to ensure our customers received as much of their money back as possible. On average, the total refund was about $61 per customer over the course of 4 years (or, about $0.79 per month).

We worked closely with representatives from the provincial government to provide a refund to affected customers. Due to government regulations, anyone over-charged on PST can only get a credit going back four years from the date that they submit the appropriate paperwork and proof that they were overcharged. We worked hard to ensure our customers got the best possible refund they were eligible for, and to make the refund application as convenient as possible. Unfortunately, due to the complexity of the process, it took longer than expected to get government approval on the refund amount and the wording of the PST letter.

We would like to emphasize that the PST we collected on behalf of the government was remitted directly to the government. Since the PST has already been sent to the government, our customers must apply directly to the government to get the money back. We know this is an inconvenience for our customers, so we took steps to ensure that the process to get a refund is as convenient as possible; that is why we included a government-approved schedule of payments on the back of the letter we sent out.

We sincerely regret any inconvenience this may cause our customers, and we have taken steps to ensure this does not happen again.


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