A Penny for your thoughts

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A Penny for your thoughts

Postby Russ_Byth » Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:25 pm

Has anyone else run into a situation where a business has refused to accept a penny as payment for goods?
That happened to me today. Simply wouldn't take them. I mumbled something about it still being legal tender and then used my debit card, so it cost THEM a few cents.

I was surprised to learn that it's perfectly legal for a business to say NO to the lowly penny. As is pointed out in the full length version of the story below, you'd think a business would want to be as customer friendly as possible.


The Royal Canadian Mint said businesses are legally able to refuse any form of payment, including the penny
CBC News/CP
Posted: Feb 11, 2013 7:53 AM ET

As the penny begins to fade out of the Canadian economy, CBC News has received reports of at least one business in Chatham, Ont., refusing to accept the copper coin.

It's perfectly legal to refuse the coins, according to the Royal Canadian Mint.

The mint said businesses can refuse any form of payment, which includes rejecting Canadian currency like the penny.

"They can refuse to take pennies if they like, just as we've seen in the past merchants posting notices that they don't take the old paper $50 and $100 bank notes," said spokesperson Alex Reeves.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/s ... penny.html
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Re: A Penny for your thoughts

Postby jon » Wed Feb 13, 2013 9:49 pm

Yes, I was surprised, too, when a fast food place refused to accept some pennies as part of my payment.

But that was in the 1980s in Kingsway Garden Mall in Edmonton. The owner explained that, in those days before GST, all of his prices were multiples of 5 cents, and he therefore saw no need to handle pennies.

I was annoyed, so I checked and found out that there was no legal requirement for him to do so. The loophole is normally used to prevent retailers from having to accept large bills that otherwise make them carry huge amounts of change. Over the years, I've had bills as small as a $20 refused.

But the thing that still causes me the most grief is cab drivers with Visa stickers on their windows who refuse to accept any credit cards because they don't want to pay the transaction fee. Although you couldn't hassle them with the legal tender argument, there is always False Advertising.
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Re: A Penny for your thoughts

Postby PMC » Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:22 pm

If the medium coffee is a $1.78 with tax, does that say I pay $1.80 in cash because my pennies get refused ?

Will the tuney that I give for payment only return 20 cents ?

Is this not a method to raise the price by 2 or 3 cents without saying it ?

People that pay cash, pay the Visa/MC tax on their purchase which is included in the price.

What is that medium coffee really worth ? :lol:
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Re: A Penny for your thoughts

Postby Mike Cleaver » Wed Feb 13, 2013 11:36 pm

There are new signs in many stores and businesses about "rounding up" or "rounding down." They all have their own "system" to avoid handling any lingering pennies and yes, if it's over a nickle, they'll normally round it up to a dime, meaning it's a price increase.
Similarly, if it's four cents, they'll usually round it down to the last ten cent increment.
I've seen this more in stores that accept only cash.
Credit and debit purchases are not affected by this "rounding up and down" game.
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Re: A Penny for your thoughts

Postby Neumann Sennheiser » Thu Feb 14, 2013 7:26 am

Physical money is like cigarette smoking and land-line telephones. I'm constantly surprised that it still exists.

Sidebar: ever find yourself in a checkout line behind a very elderly person writing a cheque? Never mind the very fact that they still use cheques for everyday purchases, marvel at the incomprehension of electronic debiting as they continue to slowly and painfully fill in every available field on the document even as the cashier explains that this is not required as the cheque will be ultimately returned to them cancelled and voided.
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Re: A Penny for your thoughts

Postby Jack Bennest » Thu Feb 14, 2013 7:58 am

Glad to see the end of the penny and don't mind the rounding up - based on value of any currency these days.

Couple of thoughts - landlines - I pay for one and don't have a cell - no call is that important to me but security of service is and land lines
provide a lifeline when power is down.

I used plastic a lot but cheques are still needed in business and paying post dated strata fees etc.

Before I die the whole world will change financially but I hope that progress is slow so us old geezers have time to adapt.
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Re: A Penny for your thoughts

Postby jon » Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:11 am

I've seen lots of signs here clearing stating that ending digits in a bill of one, two, six and seven cents are rounded down to the nearest nickel, and three, four, eight and nine are rounded up.

Jack Bennest wrote:Couple of thoughts - landlines - I pay for one and don't have a cell - no call is that important to me but security of service is and land lines
provide a lifeline when power is down.

While I, too, am a strong supporter of land lines for emergencies, I have recently discovered that "it is all relative".

With a traditional phone company, i.e. - an analogue phone line, you are still dependent on power at every point in the connection where equipment is installed. Digital phone lines ("VOIP") have a modem in your house that also needs power. They generally have a place for backup batteries inside, but installers often forget to insert the battery pack. Batteries wear out, too.

Starting in your house, look at each phone. If it plugs into the wall for power, it may or may not work in a power failure. The base of a cordless phone generally won't work; most fancy plug-in phones will operate in some sort of "pass through mode".

Phone companies generally do a good job of having backup power for their "central offices". The trouble point is the first switching point, traditionally those little buildings in school yards or somewhere else in a neighbourhood. Old technology generally limited them to running through no more than 5 miles of wire between you and them.

Locally here, Shaw has done a poor job, and the power to their closest switching point dies about 20-30 minutes into a power failure.

I don't have any information on how cell phone towers have done during long power failures.

Beyond power, of course, congestion is a huge issue. Cellular networks have less capacity than land line networks, but the gap is narrowing. Not as fast as cellular usage is growing, of course.
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Re: A Penny for your thoughts

Postby Mike Cleaver » Thu Feb 14, 2013 2:48 pm

Cash still is king in many places here on the Lower Mainland where there is no tax collected if you use cash and many businesses will not accept any other form of payment because of this.
Yes, it's illegal.
But millions of dollars change hands here without taxes being collected.
It's impossible to enforce the sales tax laws with so few inspectors making the rounds.
And even those who accept other forms of payment are using specialized computer programs to hide a percentage of sales from the tax man.
Every now and then, one of them gets busted but it doesn't happen very often.
I've seen real estate deals done with cases full of cash.
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Re: A Penny for your thoughts

Postby jon » Thu Feb 14, 2013 3:32 pm

Mike Cleaver wrote:Cash still is king in many places here on the Lower Mainland where there is no tax collected if you use cash and many businesses will not accept any other form of payment because of this.
Yes, it's illegal.
But millions of dollars change hands here without taxes being collected.
It's impossible to enforce the sales tax laws with so few inspectors making the rounds.
And even those who accept other forms of payment are using specialized computer programs to hide a percentage of sales from the tax man.
Every now and then, one of them gets busted but it doesn't happen very often.
I've seen real estate deals done with cases full of cash.

Most of the countries in financial trouble in Europe have very high rates of Tax Evasion: personal and business income tax, and retail sales tax. Canada pales by comparison. But it could easily get out of hand here, too.

I could be wrong, but I thought most "cash deals" involved proceeds from Criminal Activity, as opposed to tax evasion on what would otherwise be a legal activity.
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Re: A Penny for your thoughts

Postby radiofan » Thu Feb 14, 2013 4:12 pm

jon wrote:
Mike Cleaver wrote:Cash still is king in many places here on the Lower Mainland where there is no tax collected if you use cash and many businesses will not accept any other form of payment because of this.
Yes, it's illegal.
But millions of dollars change hands here without taxes being collected.
It's impossible to enforce the sales tax laws with so few inspectors making the rounds.
And even those who accept other forms of payment are using specialized computer programs to hide a percentage of sales from the tax man.
Every now and then, one of them gets busted but it doesn't happen very often.
I've seen real estate deals done with cases full of cash.

Most of the countries in financial trouble in Europe have very high rates of Tax Evasion: personal and business income tax, and retail sales tax. Canada pales by comparison. But it could easily get out of hand here, too.

I could be wrong, but I thought most "cash deals" involved proceeds from Criminal Activity, as opposed to tax evasion on what would otherwise be a legal activity.


You can save $$ on anything from home renovations, yard maintenace, auto repairs etc by paying ca$h and not requiring a receipt.

Next you're at a Barber Shop, check the napkin the barber puts around your neck. If it's 1 ply, he's cheating the taxman. Beacuse barber shops are generally a cash only operation, the way the tax guys from
Ottawa monitor what their rough income should be is to check on how many cases of napkins they go through each year. By separating the napkins to 1 ply, the barber could (and many do) declare one out
of three haircuts as his actual income and that would jive with the number of napkins he bought in a year.

Veering back onto the highway and getting back to Russ' original topic, I bought a book of stamps at the Dreug Store Post Office today. It was $7.06 and the clerk wouldn't accept the penny. At another Drug
Store I spent 3.94, and got back 6 cents. They have a stack of pennies they have to get rid of. At least he didn't give me 6 penies back.
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Re: A Penny for your thoughts

Postby jon » Thu Feb 14, 2013 4:54 pm

Radiofan is right, of course, about the majority of cash deals. I was thinking more of the proverbial suitcases full of money to pay for a house, car, corporate jet, someone's business, etc.
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Re: A Penny for your thoughts

Postby jon » Fri Feb 15, 2013 7:56 pm

My local London Drugs has a sign that says they will continue to give out (and accept) pennies as long as their current stock lasts.

As for cash deals:
My last job before retiring was working for Workers' Compensation Board here in Edmonton. Back in the 1990s, they ran a fairly successful campaign trying to scare homeowners out of doing cash deals on work in their homes by pointing out that the homeowner, not WCB, would be responsible for any injuries.
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Re: A Penny for your thoughts

Postby jon » Tue Feb 19, 2013 8:59 am

In light of the Cash Deals discussion earlier in this thread, the guy being quoted in this quiz question sounds very wrong:

Quiz Question 6. Who argued that a sales tax would “eliminate all cheaters and tax evaders because there’s no way around a simple pay-at-the-till tax. It would eliminate all the games that can be played, which often give an advantage to the wealthy, who can afford to hire expensive tax accountants and lawyers, by eliminating all of the tax loopholes and writeoffs that so many average taxpayers are not aware of, not privy to, and which are incredibly unfair.”

Answer: 6. You might be surprised to learn this is Doug Griffiths, currently the municipal affairs minister, who made the comment back on April 21, 2008, while putting forward a private member’s motion urging the government to “study the feasibility of eliminating personal income tax in the province and replacing it with a consumption tax.”

from an Alberta Sales Tax quiz in this morning's Edmonton Journal, written by Graham Thomson
ref. - http://www.edmontonjournal.com/opinion/ ... story.html
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