Consumer Protection: Beware of New Credit Card Surcharges – Contact Us Immediately If Improperly Charged

By Matthew T. Hovey, Esquire

Buyers beware!  As of January 27, 2013, retailers in Pennsylvania can now charge customers a surcharge of 4% of all purchases paid for with most credit cards, including Visa and Mastercard.  This change is the result of a legal settlement in anti-trust case between retailers and credit card companies which now permits retailers to “pass along” their merchant fees to the consumer.

The surcharges are prohibited in ten states, but they are permitted here in Pennsylvania.  That said, to comply with Pennsylvania strict Consumer Protection Statute, retailers must clearly and explicitly notify customers if they intend to charge them the credit card surcharge.  Failure to do so will expose the retailers to significant penalties pursuant to the Consumer Protection Statute.

If you were charged the 4% surcharge without sufficient notification prior to your purchase, please (1) keep your receipt and/or credit card statement; and (2) call us!  A violation of Pennsylvania’s Consumer Protection Statute carries the potential penalty of triple damages and the retailer may be required to pay reasonable attorney fees for the victim.**  Our main office can be reached at 888-313-0416.

Sources: Tina Burgess, “Credit Card Surcharge: New 4% Credit Card Fee For Customers in 2013,” http://www.examiner.com/article/credit-card-surcharge-new-4-credit-card-fee-for-customers-january-2013; Atossa Araxia Abrahamian, “Retailers May Add Surcharge in Credit Card Transactions,” http://news.yahoo.com/retailers-may-add-surcharge-credit-card-transactions-223139316–sector.html

**We cannot and do not promise or guarantee any award in any amount.  The penalty for a violation of the Consumer Protection Statute is completely within the discretion of the court.  Each case is unique and results may vary depending on the potential plaintiff, potential defendant, and the unique facts of each case.

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