Keep an eye out for GST mistakes

Keep an eye out for GST mistakes. To illustrate, it is easiest just to tell my story.

Before I start, let me just say I bear no ill-will towards Cold Storage for this incident. Mistakes happen. The government has forced huge costs on businesses (and thus consumers) by making them unpaid tax collectors, and businesses would have wanted to keep their costs in implementing this as low as possible.  Mistakes are likely.

I only wanted to buy coconut oil, glanced at the price, picked it up and went to the checkout.  I paid in cash, and when I received the change, as I vaguely remembered the price, thought I had been overcharged.  So I queried this with the cashier, and she showed me the price on the receipt.  She had given me the correct change according to the receipt.



Something seemed wrong, so I returned to the shelf and photographed the price and GST rating there.

price and GST rating of 0% on shelf

price and GST rating of 0% on shelf

The price on the receipt was RM64.91 ex-GST, but the price on the shelf was RM64.89.  Now, the government has decreed that the price indicated must include GST.  So the proper price should be as shown on the shelf.  And GST was added, by mistake, to a slightly different price for the product.  This is three mistakes.

As is usual here, you explain the problem to one staff member, they go and get another staff member – and you have to explain all over again.  Then they go and get another staff member, and you start again from the beginning and explain it all again.  The shelf photo I had taken  made it easy for them to understand. So, the fourth staff member gave me a huge form to fill out, I said, as usual, I’d only fill out my name and phone number, and then I got my RM3.90 back in cash.  And they apologised nicely and shook my hand.

As much as possible I try to avoid buying products that have GST on them, so for me this was the main point in this exercise once I had found the mistakes.



  1. this is interesting. if it happened to me i would not notice it. most americans will be used to the gst being added on at the till, so will pay up.
    you are astute to know that the govt has said it must be included in the price. locals will know of it but tourists would never know and be fooled.

    1. To keep my mind ticking over I usually roughly add up the item costs in my mind as they are rung up in the till and see if my total equals the total on the till. And I then calculate in my mind the change I should get. In this case it was only one item, and I had thought as I glanced at the shelf price that if I paid with 100 I should get back about 35 in change. When I got less I started to query it.

      I have caught other mistakes before, usually of only a few ringgit, but at least it shows I can remember how to do arithmetic still. One of the few useful things I learnt in the ducation system.

      1. i think it helps that u only have one item. the people who are caught out are those who buy lots of stuff and mistakes like this get lost amongst all those items. it surprises me that coconut oil is that expensive when u consider all those coconut trees there.

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