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Merchants’ credit card policies prohibited

Posted: June 4, 2008 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 5, 2008 5:02 a.m.
Where I choose to spend my money in Santa Clarita is a big deal to me. With so many places to shop, eat and use services in the SCV, I can go to about 100 different places for the same thing. This letter may seem like more of a rant, but I would also like to provide information to readers.

Merchants are not allowed to charge you an extra fee, service charge or set a minimum amount for purchases with credit cards. I find more and more businesses doing this, which specifically goes against Visa and MasterCard merchant agreements.

Recently, I find that gas stations such as the Valerio on Lyons Avenue are charging anywhere from two to four cents a gallon more if you use a credit card. The Arco station on Lyons Avenue charges a service fee of more than a dollar to pay with a debit or credit card.

As if gas weren't expensive enough, they are charging customers more for using a specific method of payment, which again they are not allowed to do. Merchants do this because they have to pay a very small fee (4 cents to 6 cents) for every time a payment is made with a credit card, which is the price of doing business and being able to accept a credit card as a form of payment.

Some places have a minimum charge for credit cards of $25. This is also specifically prohibited by Visa and MasterCard.

The idea behind credit cards is that they can be used just like cash. Merchants that have these policies are likely to lose the ability to accept credit cards because they specifically go against Visa and Mastercard's regulations.

I personally contact Visa and Mastercard via their Web sites and make a complaint against every merchant I come across that imposes these fees and restrictions upon me as the consumer for using my credit cards.

I think consumers should be aware of their rights and do something about it instead of being taken advantage of by the places you go to spend your money. You shouldn't be penalized for choosing to use a credit or debit card instead of cash.


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