PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – A Safeway customer in Portland is suing the grocery store after he says his receipt showed extra charges he didn’t know about.

The complaint was filed earlier this week and accuses Safeway of charging customers a one-percent fee on some items to help pay for a citywide clean energy tax.

The tax, approved by Portland voters last year, began in January and applies to businesses that make one billion dollars or more in gross revenue in the U.S. and $500,000 in Portland.

Items like most groceries, medicine, and healthcare services are exempt from the tax–but some customers have been seeing it on their receipts when it comes to non-grocery items, like pet food, cleaning supplies, and hand sanitizer, they say.

According to the lawsuit, Safeway broke the law by not telling customers about the tax.

“It is secret, because Oregon doesn’t have a sales tax, generally,” Michael Fuller, an attorney, said. “The tax is on the corporation. Now, the corporation, like many corporations, will have to raise its prices to pay for additional expenses, but you have to be honest about the increase in prices. You cannot just add that increase behind a consumer’s back. If a can of soup costs 99 cents, that’s what the consumer should pay at the register.”

The tax is meant to help raise money for a variety of clean energy project and jobs in Portland. In the past, opponents have said they were worried it would get passed on to consumers.

FOX 12 reached out to Safeway Wednesday about the lawsuit but did not immediately hear back.

Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.


Recommended for you

(6) comments

Delta Bravo

If a kicker is in the works for this year, why has the state and Portland raised taxes with new taxes? Appears they can't spend it fast enough or they have too much. This is not responsible government at the city or state level.


Vote them out, you voted them in.


"In the past, opponents have said they were worried it would get passed on to consumers."

Where do people think the money would come from??? It's the same thing when it comes to forcing companies to pay higher wages . . . I can guarantee you it will never come from profits! I'll also bet that many of the people that vote in favor of bills like this one, actually believe that it will never have an impact on them. Until they see prices rise or "hidden" taxes like this one are noticed.

William R

My local M store charged a a Portland cidy tax until I pointed out repeatedly that we were not in Portland, then they started charging a Beaverton city tax, yes got that hooey stopped too, Aolha at 205th is not in beaverton, just OLCC now $2.22 for a $13.08 purchase PLSP


Right, Portland needs a sales tax! Democrats at work! Perhaps next our esteemed governor will issue an executive order establishing a sales tax on every item bought!

Lee Smith

LOL and let's not forget the backdoor sales tax that salem calls a gross sales tax.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.