Customers Pay Extra Fee at Rimrock Stores
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. Customers are paying a little extra at some Grand Junction businesses, and many don't even realize it. A few businesses in the Rimrock Crossing shopping center impose a one percent Public Improvement Fee (PIF), including newly opened Sprouts. While it's written on the receipt, some shoppers aren't noticing it at the bottom. The fee is in addition to the city sales tax. One Sprouts customer, Charles Yarbrough, said, "You totally surprised me, I wasn't aware it was there. It is on my receipt and it does make me wonder exactly what that fee is for." A fourth time shopper at Sprouts, Laura Harris, said, "I'm really shocked, I didn't know there were any stores in town adding additional tax on top of what we are already paying." Officials say it's not a tax, but a fee. For example, spending $100 at a store will result in a $1 fee. "It will make me think twice when I think about shopping here versus other places, because it adds up," said Harris. Communications manager of the city of Grand Junction, Sam Rainguet, said, said, "When the shopping center was built back around 2003, a district was formed to pay for the street and other type of improvements." According to Grand Junction officials, Rimrock Crossing is the only shopping center in the area imposing such a fee. "It is an optional fee for the merchants out there to charge back to their customers, they can do that if they wish, we can't prevent them from doing it, but it's not a city fee and it is not a tax," said Rainguet. One Sprouts customer did notice the fee on her receipt and inquired about it to managers, "We already pay all these taxes, and now we have to pay another fee." She's noticed it on her Hobby Lobby receipts too. Sprouts gave her a document explaining why the fee is in place. "I don't think it's the stores fault, I think it's the owner of the property," said the customer. "It may be a valid charge or a valid surcharge, but it does add an increased amount to my final bill," said Yarbrough. Like with most fine print, the devil's in the details. NewsChannel 5 reached out to the developers, THF Realty, and received no calls back. City officials say the the fee is set to be in place roughly 30 years.