Massachusetts lawmakers try to close credit card fee loophole

Charging a surcharge for using a credit card is supposed to be against the law in Massachusetts, but many businesses across the state are charging their customers these fees anyway thanks to a giant loophole we first discovered. times in February. Now, several lawmakers say it might be time to correct the law and close the loophole When Douglas’s Bob Parent took his Ford F-150 to have the backup camera fixed after a rear-end crash , he noticed the $ 500 deposit he had paid with. a credit card actually came out at $ 517.50, a 3.5% increase. “I noticed it when I looked at the receipt and it said ‘Non-cash adjustment’,” Parent said. “I didn’t think it was the right thing to do.” This “non-cash adjustment” also appeared on his receipt when he paid the balance, a total of an additional $ 40 on top of the $ 1,100 repair. Parent looked to the Massachusetts Credit Card Act which says, “No seller in a sales transaction can impose a surcharge on a cardholder who chooses to use a credit card.” Despite this, Parent says he didn’t go anywhere when he questioned the owner. He said, ‘It’s just like that. It’s a tax that we charge, ”said Parent. The parents’ experience is not unique to Massachusetts. We have heard from viewers who have paid credit card surcharges across the state, at businesses large and small, like a restaurant on the South Shore or at Boch Honda in Norwood. We interviewed consumer experts about this practice earlier this year. They say state law prohibits adding fees to paying with a credit card. “You can offer a discount to your customers for using cash, but you can’t increase the cost of using a credit card,” said Deirdre Cummings, a consumer advocate and lawmaker director of MassPIRG, a non-profit public interest research group. “In my opinion, this particular practice would be against the law.” We took the matter to State Senator Paul Feeney, who is deputy chair of the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection. “It’s obvious to me that we have a problem here,” he said. “Most people don’t walk into a dealership with thousands of dollars in cash in their pocket, they use their credit cards.” In the case of Boch Honda, the Massachusetts Banking Division told them the charges were allowed as long as they didn’t take advantage of it, hire an outside credit card provider to process and collect the transactions, and while there is an option to avoid the fee by paying in cash. DOB says it has made other rulings along the same lines, essentially giving the green light to credit card supplements as long as businesses use an outside company to process transactions. At the time, Boch Honda told us that it informed customers of the charges before paying and that the signs be displayed at the dealership. “It was alarming for me to see these opinions from the Banking Division that really said status, but if you want to get around it, here’s what you need to do,” Senator Feeney said. Senator Feeney says lawmakers should figure out how to fix this, as most people pay by credit card most of the time. The Speaker of the House of Consumer Protection Representatives, Rep. Tackey Chan, agrees something needs to be done. “La way of doing this waiver is new to me, “said Rep. Chan.” It is definitely worth taking the time to try and figure out. “Many people like Parent often only find out about the fee when it is too much. late. “We are trying to figure out what is the best strategy and how you fix it,” Senator Feeney said. “At the end of the day, that has to be changed. We have to do something.” One problem that complicates this is what happened to a similar law banning credit card surcharges in New York City. There, the federal courts sided with business owners in saying that fees are in fact protected by free speech because businesses have the right to tell customers what they are paying for.

Charging a surcharge for using a credit card is supposed to be against the law in Massachusetts, but many businesses across the state are charging their customers these fees anyway thanks to a giant loophole we first discovered. times in February. Today, several lawmakers say it may be time to correct the law and close the gap.

When Bob Parent of Douglas took his Ford F-150 to have the rear view camera repaired after a rear-end accident, he noticed that the $ 500 deposit he had paid with a credit card amounted to made to $ 517.50, an increase of 3.5%.

“I noticed it when I looked at the receipt and it said ‘Non-monetary adjustment’,” Parent said. “I didn’t think it was [the] good thing to do. “

This “non-cash adjustment” was also on his receipt when he paid the balance, a total of $ 40 plus the $ 1,100 repair. Parent looked to the Massachusetts Credit Card Act which says, “No seller in a sales transaction can impose a surcharge on a cardholder who chooses to use a credit card.” Despite this, Parent says he didn’t go anywhere when he questioned the owner.

He said, ‘It’s just like that. It’s a tax that we charge, ”said Parent.

The parents’ experience is not unique to Massachusetts. We have heard from viewers who have paid credit card surcharges across the state, at businesses large and small, like a restaurant on the South Shore or at Boch Honda in Norwood. We interviewed consumer experts about this practice earlier this year. They say state law prohibits adding fees to paying with a credit card.

“You can offer a discount to your customers for using cash, but you can’t increase the cost of using a credit card,” said Deirdre Cummings, a consumer advocate and legislative director for MassPIRG. , a nonprofit public interest research group. “In my opinion, this particular practice would be against the law.

We took the matter to State Senator Paul Feeney, who is deputy chair of the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection.

“It is obvious to me that we have a problem here,” he said. “Most people don’t walk into a dealership with thousands of dollars in cash, they use their credit cards.”

In the case of Boch Honda, the Massachusetts Banking Division told them that charges were allowed as long as they didn’t take advantage of it, hire an outside credit card provider to process and collect transactions, and while ‘there is a possibility to avoid the fees by paying in cash. DOB says it has made other rulings along the same lines, essentially giving the green light to credit card supplements as long as businesses use an outside company to process transactions. At the time, Boch Honda told us that it advises customers of the charges before paying and that the signs are displayed at the dealership.

“It was alarming for me to see these opinions from the Banking Division that were really saying ‘Yes we have this existing statute but if you want to get around it here is what you need to do,’” said Senator Feeney.

Senator Feeney says lawmakers should figure out how to fix this, because most people pay by credit card most of the time. The Speaker of the House of Consumer Protection, Representative Tackey Chan, agrees something needs to be done.

“The path [DOB] has gone around to make this waiver is new to me, “Rep. Chan said.” It is definitely worth taking the time to try and figure it out.

Many people like Parent often don’t find out about the fees until it’s too late.

“We are trying to determine what is the best strategy and how to solve this problem,” said Senator Feeney. “The bottom line is that this has to be changed. We have to do something.”

A complicating issue is what happened to a similar law banning credit card supplements in New York City. There, the federal courts sided with business owners in saying that fees are in fact protected by free speech because businesses have the right to tell customers what they are paying for.


Source link

About Elizabeth Fisk

Check Also

1 awesome star worked in the Florida Senate

Netflix is ​​emerging as a reality TV empire, with shows like Sell ​​Tampa. The series …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *