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    It’s illegal to charge more for using a credit card in California

    June 9, 2014, 9:25 am

    As part of the Visa and Mastercard antitrust settlement, businesses are now allowed to charge a fee to consumers for using a credit card, a so-called interchange fee.

    However, California Civil Code section 1748.1(a) bars retailers from charging a surcharge to a customer who uses a credit card. If a cardholder makes a written demand for the monies, the retailer must repay the amount in 30 days by certified mail or face triple damages (and attorneys’ fees). (Civ. Code section 1748.1(b).) The retailer though can provide a discount for paying cash, credit card or other means as long as the discount goes to all prospective buyers.

    Note that an exception exists for two-tier pricing for the sale of gasoline due to the Petroleum Act (Bus. & Prof. code section 13400, et seq.). However, the signage must makes the difference in pricing clear. (Thrifty Oil Co. v. Superior Court (Linder) 91 Cal.App.4th 1070, 1077 [111 Cal.Rptr.2d 253].)

    If you are a business owner concerned with these changes or a consumer who believes you may have been overcharged, contact our offices today.

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