Adding Surcharges to Credit Card Purchases

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This is a result from my recent dealing with a plumber who tried to add a service charge for my paying by credit card. I didn't tell him that has been illegal in this state for as long as I can remember. But when I asked him to itemize that charge on the receipt, he decided not to add it.
In general, anyone who sells products or services is considered a retailer. This does not apply to governments and some organizations such as non-profit charities, etc.
Below are the states who currently prohibit this type of charge.
California Colorado Connecticut Florida Kansas Maine Massachusetts New York Oklahoma Texas
From http://usa.visa.com/personal/using_visa/checkout_fees/
States Where No Surcharge Laws Protect Consumers
Surcharging isn't allowed everywhere. Currently, there are laws limiting surcharging in: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma and Texas. Consumers who are subjected to a surcharge or checkout fees in states where they may be prohibited from surcharging may want to report the retailer to their state attorney general's office. California ================= "No retailer...may impose a surcharge on a cardholder who elects to use a credit card in lieu of payment by cash, check or similar means..."
Statute: Cal. Civ. Code § 1748.1(a) (West)
Discounts for Cash Payments are allowed in California
"A retailer may, however, offer discounts for the purpose of inducing payment by cash, check or other means not involving the use of a credit card, provided that the discount is offered to all prospective buyers."
Statute: Cal. Civ. Code § 1748.1(a) (West)
Statutes cover: Credit Cards only
Statute: (Cal. Civ. Code § 1747.02(a) (West) (defining "credit card"))
California State Attorney General Colorado ================= "[N]o seller...may impose a surcharge on a holder who elects to use a credit or charge card in lieu of payment by cash check or similar means..."
Statute: Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 5-2-212(1) (West)
Discounts for Cash Payments are allowed in Colorado
"Discounts offered to induce payment by cash, check or other means not involving credit card are not finance charges if offered to all prospective buyers and disclosed clearly and conspicuously in accordance with regulations."
Statute: Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 5-2-212(2) (West)
Statutes cover: Credit Cards only
Statute: (See Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 5-1-301(16), (16.5), (24), (43) (West)).1
Colorado State Attorney General Connecticut ================= "No seller may impose a surcharge on a buyer who elects to use any method of payment, including, but not limited to, cash, check, credit card or electronic means..."
Statute: Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 42-133ff(a) (West)
Statute: Id. at § 42-133ff(d).
Statute covers: Credit & Debit
No surcharges on travel agents
"No provider of travel services may impose a surcharge on or reduce the commission paid to a travel agent who acts as an agent for such provider if the buyer uses a credit card to purchase such provider's travel services."
Statute: Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 42-133ff(e) (West)
Statute does not define credit card to include debit card
Connecticut State Attorney General Florida ================= "A seller...may not impose a surcharge on the buyer...for electing to use a credit card in lieu of payment by cash, check, or similar means, if the seller...accepts payment by credit card..."
Statute: Fla. Stat. Ann. § 501.0117(1) (West)
Discounts for Cash Payments are allowed in Florida
Discounts offered to induce payment by cash, check or other means not involving a credit card allowed if offered to all prospective buyers.
Statute: Fla. Stat. Ann. § 501.0117(1) (West)
Statutes cover: Statute does not define credit card to include debit card
Statute: Fla. Stat. Ann. § 501.011(1) (West)
Florida State Attorney General " Kansas ================= "No seller...or any credit card issuer may impose a surcharge on a card holder who elects to use a credit card in lieu of payment by cash, check or similar means."
Statute: Kan. Stat. Ann. § 16a-2-403
Discounts for Cash Payments are allowed in Kansas
Attorney General's opinion interprets section 16a-2-403's predecessor statute to not prohibit discounts for payments made by cash, check or similar means.
Statute: Kan. Op. Attorney Gen. 86-115, 1986 WL 238345 (1986)
Statutes cover: Statutes do not define credit card to include debit card
Statute: (See Kan. Stat. Ann. §§ 16a-1-301(18), (19))
Kansas State Attorney General Maine ================= "No seller...may impose a surcharge on a cardholder who elects to use a credit card in lieu of payment by cash, check or similar means."
Statute: Maine Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 9-A, § 8-303(2) (See also id. § 8-103 (definitions and rules of construction))
Discounts for Cash Payments are allowed in Maine
Discount offered to induce payment by cash, check or other means not involving a credit card not considered a finance charge if offered to all prospective buyers and disclosed clearly and conspicuously.
Statute: See Maine Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 9-A, § 8-303(3)
Statutes cover: Credit cards only
Statute: (See Maine Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 9-A, § 1-301(15), (16)).1
Maine State Attorney General Massachusetts ================= "No seller...may impose a surcharge on a cardholder who elects to use a credit card in lieu of payment by cash, check or similar means."
Statute: Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 140D, § 28A(a)(2) (West)
Discounts for Cash Payments are allowed in Massachusetts
Discount offered to induce payment by cash, check or other means not involving a credit card not considered a finance charge if offered to all prospective buyers and disclosed clearly and conspicuously.
Statute: Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 140D, § 28A(b) (West)
Statutes cover: Credit cards only
Statute: (Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 140D, § 1 (West))
Massachusetts State Attorney General New York ================= "No seller...may impose a surcharge on a cardholder who elects to use a credit card in lieu of payment by cash, check or similar means..."
Statute: N.Y. Gen. Bus. Law § 518 (McKinney)
Statute covers: Credit cards only
Statute: (N.Y. Gen. Bus. Law § 511(1))
New York State Attorney General Oklahoma ================= "No seller...may impose a surcharge on a cardholder who elects to use a credit card in lieu of payment by cash, check or similar means."
Statute: Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 14A, § 2-211, -417 (West)
Discounts for Cash Payments are allowed in Oklahoma
Discount offered to induce payment by cash, check or similar means not involving an open-end credit card not considered a credit service charge if offered to all prospective buyers clearly and conspicuously in accordance with regulations.
Statutes cover: Credit cards only
Statute: (See Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 14A, § 1-301(7), (9), (19)
Oklahoma State Attorney General Texas ================= "[A] seller may not impose a surcharge on a buyer who uses a credit card for an extension of credit instead of cash, a check or a similar means of payment."
Statute: Tex. Fin. Code Ann. § 339.001(a) (Vernon)
Statute covers: Credit cards only
Statute: Tex. Fin. Code Ann. § 301.002(a)(2),(9)
Texas State Attorney General
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How do gas stations in NY get away with charging 10 cents more per gallon for using a credit card?
All the "Valero" branded stations do this. Many Mobil stations are now doing it, and some Hess stations have also begun this practice.
Must be they can call it a "cash discount" and that's good enough for the law.
Frankly, it SHOULD be legal to impose a credit surcharge. It costs the merchant 3-5% of GROSS for the ability to accept credit cards.
Credit surcharge would also make people think twice about buying things they can't afford. Rather than have it now they save the cash, and maybe by the time they've saved up they will realize they never needed it in the first place.
Unfortunately that is bad for business in general.
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On 10/23/2013 01:14 PM, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Using a credit card gives the consumer some protections that you don't have with cash or debit card however.
nate
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replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
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wrote:

Unless the debit card is processed through the credit card system (Visa or MC). If you use the PIN, any protection you may have is up to your bank.
Of course cash has certain protections that the others don't have, too. ;-)
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On 10/23/2013 1:42 PM, Nate Nagel wrote:

My debit card has every feature that a credit card has Extended warranty. price protection, dispute resolution, etc. It has the MC logo.
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On 10/23/2013 8:43 PM, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

That's a vendor feature then; it's not written into law and they can back out any time they choose by modifying the agreement. I've not seen that offered on debit. Often also they lock accounts for over the withdrawal amount on larger purchases to prevent a second relatively soon use from exceeding a daily limit. I've got one that's AC/DC but I never use the debit side -- there's no advantage at all and several disadvantages to me.
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Only if you use it as a credit card. In this case, MC backs it, since it's being cleared through their network. If you use it as an ATM card (enter the PIN), you lose those protections because it isn't being cleared through MC, rather your bank's (and their affiliates) ATM network(s).
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On 10/24/2013 01:23 PM, snipped-for-privacy@attt.bizz wrote:

Right. And it's cheaper for the merchant I believe if you run it as debit, but not as credit. (IIRC; I'm not entirely certain of that.)
nate
--
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
http://members.cox.net/njnagel
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On 10/24/2013 1:23 PM, snipped-for-privacy@attt.bizz wrote:

Nope, I can use it as a debit card and pin and get the same deal. Info came in the mail recently and also in with my bank statement. Don't know how others work, but that is what came from Peoples Bank.
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On 10/24/2013 1:06 PM, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

Check carefully about the fraud provisions or loss coverage, etc., ...
If they match the Federal on the $50 max loss, etc., I'd be quite surprised and it will, as noted, be a case of the issuer stepping up to the plate as a marketing ploy and can go away any time as it isn't mandated by law as is the credit card side. The warranty and other features I'm not surprised about; many do that. The key point is the loss limitations, though, and I'd suggest reading the fine print _very_ carefully before you assume too much.
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Exactly. I'd be very surprised if the bank was really stepping up to the plate. ...and will if the fit hits the shan.
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On 10/24/2013 7:49 PM, snipped-for-privacy@attt.bizz wrote:

They stepped up to $1200 in charges on a stolen card. Money was back in the account the day after it was reported by phone. Surprised?
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Was the PIN used? I *just* happened to me but the PIN wasn't used, so the charges were processed through the VISA system. No problem, it was covered (other than the BS of getting a new card).
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On 10/25/2013 4:48 PM, snipped-for-privacy@attt.bizz wrote:

Don't know but the card was stolen so probably not a PIN. It was swiped at a WalMart and a gas station. My dealing was with my bank so if MC was involved they did so.
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Yes, that's the normal way of doing things, though you could go directly to MC if your bank wasn't cooperative. I just went through the same. The fact is that MC (VISA, in my case) was the one backing the transaction. If the PIN was used, the CCC wouldn't be involved and your bank may have treated it differently since it was their network. The rules are completely different.
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On 10/25/2013 7:29 PM, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

So it's not the debit card rules in play from the ETFA but the CC rules anyway...
So, no, I'm not surprised if it was reported promptly which apparently it was since it was next day. :)
But, see other sidebar--I hadn't followed the rules on debit cards as closely as should. Doesn't sound like there's anything on the card beyond being in compliance as far as the funds liability is there? The other amenities are competitive features...
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On 10/26/2013 10:29 AM, dpb wrote:

Laws state the minimum they have to do, but for debit cards to be accepted, they have to keep pace with the competition.
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On 10/24/2013 3:14 PM, dpb wrote:

Loss limit is $0. I had charges from my wife's card and the money was back in the account in 24 hours.
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On 10/24/2013 8:25 PM, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

...

Well, again, it's up to them. If they honored it that's _a_good_thing_ (tm) but it's not in the law and is quite unusual, indeed.
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On 10/24/2013 11:43 PM, dpb wrote: ...

I discover I hadn't kept up entirely -- the CC loss of $50 is part of the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) and doesn't cover ATM/debit cards. What I hadn't read recently enough was the provisions of the (somewhat newer) EFTA -- the Electronic Funds Transfer Act; it does have loss limits that aren't the same.
But, the $0 limit is there, you are correct--I wasn't aware of that. A summary is if you report--
-Before any unauthorized charges are made. --> Limit $0
-Within 2 business days after you learn about the loss or theft. --> Limit $50 (Aside, how do you prove when you "learned" of it?)
-More than 2 business days after you learn about the loss or theft, but less than 60 calendar days after your statement is sent to you. --> Limit $500
Now here's the kicker -- not that it's likely if you're paying any attention at all, but...the law isn't user friendly here, for sure.
-More than 60 calendar days after your statement is sent to you.    All the money taken from your ATM/debit card acount, and possibly more; for example, money in accounts linked to your debit account.
So, the $0-limit within that first time frame or if you know and report it before the charges are actually made, that's in the law and so it isn't up to the issuer as I had thought. I thought it was like the $500 limit was the best it was for debit/ATM and everybody remembers the last one.
So, I should have looked it up for a refresher first; sorry...
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