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Location : Earth
Registration date : 2007-12-10

PostSubject: Positive Consumerism   Mon Nov 07, 2011 7:51 pm

You know what a pain in the ass it can be to deal with online vendors who talk a good game but don't deliver. My approach to them is to at least give them a chance to step up and do the right thing.

Here's a story about one vendor — who actually DID the right thing:
Vito wrote:
To: info@thepuriTea.com
From: Vito
Date: Wed, Oct 12, 2011 at 1:56 PM
Re: Sales Tax on Tea

I was excited to discover your website for the first time today. I was about to place my first order when I noticed the line item for sales tax on the shopping cart page. I have purchased tea from other California vendors, and none of them have ever charged me CA sales tax. There's a reason; tea is NOT a taxable item.

For your information, California State Board of Equalization Regulation 1602 explicitly excludes tea as a taxable item. Here's the excerpt:

    Regulation 1602. FOOD PRODUCTS
    Reference: Sections 6091, 6353 and 6359, Revenue and Taxation Code; and Article XIII, Section 34, California Constitution.
    (a) IN GENERAL. Tax does not apply to sales of food products for human consumption except as provided in Regulations 1503, 1574, and 1603. (Grocers, in particular, should note that tax applies to sales of “hot prepared food products” as provided in Regulation 1603(e).)
    (1) “Food products” include cereal and cereal products, including malt and malt extracts, milk and milk products, including ice cream, ice milk and ice cream and ice milk novelties, sherberts, imitation ice cream and imitation ice milk, dried milk products, sugar of milk, milk shakes, malted milks, and any other similar type beverages composed at least in part of milk or a milk product and requiring the use of milk or a milk product in their preparation, oleomargarine, meat and meat products, fish and fish products, eggs and egg products, vegetables and vegetable products, including dehydrated vegetables, fruit and fruit products, spices and salt, coffee and coffee substitutes, tea,...etc

You can download a PDF of Regulation 1602 for yourself using the following link:


Alternatively, you can go to the California State Board of Equalization website at http://www.boe.ca.gov, search for "Regulation 1602", and download the PDF from the search results.

I already pay enough taxes to the state. In facts, taxes are killing me, just as they're killing the economy everywhere. I pay what they force me to pay. But I'm not interested in paying more than necessary.

Yes--I checked your FAQs page, but it doesn't explain WHY you charge tax, contrary to the law. For me, it's a deal killer. Why do you do it?

Two days passed with no reply. Grrrrrr... Mad
Vito wrote:
To: info@thepuriTea.com
From: Vito
Date: Fri, Oct 14, 2011 at 12:45 PM
Re: Second Inquiry re. Sales Tax on Tea

Two days ago I sent an inquiry asking why you charge sales tax on orders shipped to California addresses, contrary to California law. So far, I have received no reply, nor even any acknowledgment of my inquiry.

If there's an explanation about the sales tax charges, I'm receptive to hearing it. But I'm NOT thrilled about having my inquiry completely ignored. Hopefully, that's not the case. Perhaps my message was lost.

I was about to place an order for numerous teas when I noticed the sales tax charges. I will still be happy to place the order, but not in the absence of any reply to my inquiry. I would rather be a satisfied customer.

Your statement, "100% Customer Satisfaction is our number one priority at thepuriTea" is appealing. Actions that are consistent with that statement are part of the deal. Please reply.
Then, a reply...
thepuriTea.com wrote:
To: Vito
From: info@thepuriTea.com
Date: Fri, Oct 14, 2011 at 11:13 PM
Re: Second Inquiry re. Sales Tax on Tea

Hi Vito,

I am terribly sorry for replying to your email so late.

You are correct and we are in the process of changing the site to exclude tax from all teas. Thank you so much for pointing this out to us since we weren't aware this was happening. Again, my apologies for the inconvenience and this will be remedied by Monday.

Please accept this 25% coupon as a small token of our appreciation for pointing this error for us: (coupon code)

Thank you and again, our apologies.


Nancy N.
Now, that's more like it...the kind of message I'm happy to reply to...
Vito wrote:
To: info@thepuriTea.com
From: Vito
Date: Sat, Oct 15, 2011 at 9:09 AM
Re: Second Inquiry re. Sales Tax on Tea

Hi Nancy:

Thanks so much for your kind reply, and thank for your very generous coupon. But thanks most of all for remedying the tax issue. I look forward to placing my order once the tax is gone.

Best regards,

As promised, they got rid of the stupid sales tax. I subsequently placed an order for one pound of Red Dragon Pearl tea (exquisite stuff; see my review on the site), a PushTop Teapot, and a shitload of samples of nine other teas. So far, all of them are very good to excellent. At least three of them will be on my next order in 1-pound quantities. Oh…and the order box contained a free sample of another tea, plus a coupon for 10% off my next order. Cool.

The PushTop Teapot, wasn’t exactly what I expected. There wasn’t anything wrong with it, but the site describes it as a 30-ounce teapot. It does hold 30 ounces, but the problem is that it will only brew 7 ounces of tea at a time. That doesn't work for me, so I tested their returns policy, which says that if a customer is unhappy with anything, they’ll issue a refund, and reimburse the cost of return shipping. (!!!) Sheesh…that’s pretty rare.

I shipped the pot back via priority mail. Sure enough, the day they received it they issued a credit to my credit card account for the cost of the pot plus my return shipping cost.

Since then, I’ve subscribed to their mailing list, and they’ve emailed me another coupon for a 15% discount for their “Fall Sale”.

I was fixing to rip these people a new asshole in a bunch of online reviews for not replying to my first message, but I thought I should at least give them another chance. I mean, shit happens.

I’m glad I gave them that chance. They have some absolutely exquisite teas, at some of the best prices I’ve found anywhere online. With the exception of that one delay in replying to my original inquiry about the sales tax, they have been incredibly responsive. Their customer service is first rate. Their claim that “100% Customer Satisfaction is our number one priority at thepuriTea.” is not hype; they’re serious about it.

If y’all are teaholics, you can’t go wrong with thepuriTea.com. They’ve earned the Dr. Vito's Positive Consumerism Seal of Approval™.

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