PORTLAND, Ore. — A class action lawsuit was filed Monday against Safeway, accusing the grocery store corporation of charging customers a 1% fee to pay for a tax the city is charging large retailers to help pay for Portland's clean energy initiative.
The tax, which began Jan. 1, 2019, applies to large retailers with gross income from retail sales of $1 billion or more in the U.S. and $500,000 in the City of Portland.
This is the second class action lawsuit filed against a Portland business for passing on the city tax to customers. The first lawsuit was filed against AT&T over a 5-cent billing surcharge.
"The surcharge was passed along to the customer to pay Safeway's obligation to help fund the Portland Clean Energy Initiative," said Portland attorney Michael Fuller, who is organizing both this class action lawsuit and the lawsuit against AT&T.
The plaintiff named in the lawsuit, Joshua Gagnier, visited the Safeway located at 3527 Southeast 122nd Avenue on Oct. 18 and purchased a bottle of Quail Oak Rose wine. The listed price on the shelf for the wine was $3.33, but when Gagnier looked at the receipt, he noticed a 3-cent surcharge.
Fuller said Safeway violated the Oregon Unlawful Trade Practices Act because "the surcharge was not disclosed to the customer in the advertised price of the wine he purchased."