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Stores aren’t allowed to set minimum/maximum amounts or a fee for CREDIT CARDS


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You have probably seen signs like these from mom and pop stores who thinks they’re NOT obliged to follow the rules like everyone else. This is a very common practice, even for a franchise of a major corporate chain in college towns where college students are not aware of the policy.

“$x.xx minimum purchase with credit cards” or “$x.xx minimum purchase or there will be a $x.xx surcharge/transaction charge” or “There is a $x.xx or xx% surcharge for credit card purchase”

Did you know that Merchants…

  • Can not charge you a penny extra because you used a CREDIT CARD, does not apply to PIN based DEBIT
  • If they accept VISA/MC at all, they have to honor your card, even if your purchase is $0.01.
  • Can REQUEST for your ID, but they CANNOT deny your purchase if you decline, except when your card is not signed

What to do if they’re taking advantage of lack of knowledge:

Firmly take position. If they rationalize (i.e. banks charge us a fee so we can do it), or appeal to popularity (everyone else does it), cite Section 9 of MasterCard code, then demand that they note your receipt about the surcharge, better yet to have it listed as as separate item on the itemized receipt. Assure them you will follow up with a chargeback.

Report to MasterCard (fill out the e-form)
http://www.mastercard.com/us/personal/en/contactus/merchantviolations.html

This one is more time consuming, so do the MC report first, unless the place does not accept MC.
Report to VISA:
1-800-VISA-911

If they already tacked on a fraudulent charge, call your credit card company using the phone # on back of the card that the merchant charged your card more than you authorized them, or initiate a dispute through their online communication portal. Be prepared to provide receipt.

If they won’t process your order, walk off. Let them throw out the food, put the items back on the shelves.

You might say “So what, it’s just 35, or 60 cents.” Ask them to give you a 35 or 60 cent discount on every ticket regardless of what you buy. There’s no doubt most will protest.

They will get away with it as long as their customers are ignorant and nobody call and complain causing them griefs with warning letters and chargeback fees.

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Since it’s been mentioned, they can ASK for your identification just as you can ask any stranger what today’s date is. In either case, you have the right to not comply with the request.

The merchant must drop the subject and process you anyway as long as your card is signed. They’re contractually forbade from refusing a transaction just because a card holder refuse to provide anything beyond a matching signature. Not a driver’s license, student ID, phone #, license plate #, anything of that nature.

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Also, restaurants may NOT pull authorization above and beyond the actual check amount… This is those places that “20%” your dinner check.

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Sources: Merchant rules & regulations for VISA and MasterCard
MasterCard Merchant Rules
VISA Merchant Rules

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