Brooklyn, NY asked in Tax Law, Consumer Law and Business Law for New York

Q: Is it normal to be charged tax on a repair of a musical instrument in NYC?

I brought in a violin to a luthier in Brooklyn NY to fix. She first told me a price for the job and I agreed and left it by her.

She also gave me a paper to sign which showed the original price. For some reason, she didn't give me a copy of the paper at that time.

Now two weeks later when I come in to pick it up, she told me that I have to pay tax on it, which raised the price. She also charged a fee for me using my debit card.

Is this normal for me to being paying a tax on the labor / service? The violin is old and I didn't buy it from her. They only thing I "bought" is a small replacement part which isn't very expensive.

She wasn't upfront about her fees and taxes when I dropped it off for repair, which I find to be a bit dishonest.

Anyone have an opinion on this, as I want to know for the future what to do. Thanks.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In New York City, charging sales tax on the repair of tangible personal property, including musical instruments, is standard practice. The tax applies to both the parts and labor involved in the repair, not just the physical items purchased as part of the service. Therefore, it's normal for the luthier to add tax to the final bill for repairing your violin, as this is in line with state tax regulations.

However, the issue of transparency about fees and taxes is a separate concern. Service providers should ideally disclose all potential charges upfront, including any taxes and fees for using certain payment methods, such as debit cards. This transparency allows customers to make informed decisions and avoids surprises at the time of payment.

For future transactions, it might be helpful to ask for a detailed estimate that includes all expected charges, taxes, and fees before agreeing to a service. This can help ensure clear communication and avoid misunderstandings about the total cost of the service. Additionally, requesting a copy of any service agreement or estimate at the time of drop-off is a good practice to keep records of the terms discussed.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.