LUTZ, Fla. -- A Lutz Hobby Lobby drops a mysterious fee customers were unknowingly paying. Earlier this month ABC Action News reported customers were complaining about a 'user fee' popping up on receipts. It stumped even the county tax collector.
Now, the store has totally eliminated the fee.
“Anything that benefits the consumer is a good thing," said customer Kathleen Skedel. Her receipt did not show a user fee.
Hobby Lobby did an about-face after backlash from its customers.
“I think it’s a bunch of crap," said Donna Duncheon back in early September when she saw the fee on her receipt. "They should at least tell you about it or put up signs or something."
The fee showed up whether you paid by card or cash and it wasn’t coming from the county. In fact, Pasco’s own tax collector took Hobby Lobby to task for the user fee on Facebook.
“People will not be charged a half percent and be deceived by it and I think that’s the bottom line," said Mike Fasano, the county tax collector. "They were being deceived. They weren’t being told.”
Now, he feels differently.
“Wow, Hobby Lobby got the message," he said.
In early September, the retailer told us it was forced to apply this user fee because of agreements in its lease with the developer. But we checked with all the stores on the same strip and it was only Hobby Lobby charging this fee. The crafts store said the other stores would eventually catch up and also apply the fee.
Now, corporate is saying: “Hobby Lobby made the decision to pay the customer user fee directly to the developer.”
Fasano says the store got it together after our story.
“I really believe that because of you getting involved this half of a percent sales tax—or service fee has gone away," he said.
Either way, customers are at ease.
“Well, your customer is key in any business. If you don’t have customers forget it. So, they’re doing the right thing," said Skedel.