Cyber Monday fever hits Richmonders

By Gene Petriello - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - It's Cyber Monday and online retailers could see a big boost in sales this year. With those online sales, comes no sales tax most of the time. That's something one group in Virginia is trying to change.

Many of you are staying home in your pajamas or taking your laptop with you today out the door looking for those deals this Cyber Monday.

Anneke Padolina is one of those people. She's grabbing a quick cup of coffee at Rev it Up and she's also shopping online to check off the family's holiday wish list.

"I don't like the crowds so much and I think it's a lot easier to comparison shop because I can go to three or four different websites pretty quickly and get the best deal," says Anneke.

She plans to spend a couple hundred bucks today on the net, she says that's much less than she would spend in a store.

"When I shop online, I have specific goals. This is what I want, I want this, I want that. So, I don't do a lot of browsing and spend money on things I don't need," says Anneke.

Not only that, but she also knows about some other tricks to online shopping that will keep cash in her wallet. "In addition to finding them cheaper, you usually don't have to pay sales tax and often times you can get free shipping."

While that's great news for her, some other businesses in our area are seeing the negative effects.

Right now, the Virginia Retail Federation, which includes the local Retail Merchants Association, is trying to close a loop hole in Virginia to equalize the sales tax playing field. Those organizations want to see a bill pass that would make online retailers charge a state sales tax on purchases similar to walk-in stores.

Research shows the commonwealth would gain an extra $17 million if that sales tax was collected.

Even if that happens, Anneke says she'd still buy online. "I probably wouldn't notice to be honest. I expect it to not be there!"

But for now, the deals are online. And some stores are even extending the Cyber Monday sales, through the end of the week.

Overall, estimates are this year online holiday spending could be just 11 percent over last year.

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.