HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) — Following a recent increase in complaints, the Department of Consumer Protection is reminding the public that state law prohibits businesses from charging customers extra for using a credit card.
“Consumers may not realize they cannot be charged extra simply for using their credit card,” said Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull. “But it’s important to watch out for these unlawful charges and avoid paying them before it’s too late.”
Connecticut’s law does allow businesses to offer a discount if a customer chooses to use cash over credit card, but officials said receiving the discount is not the same as adding a surcharge.
“As long as the final receipt shows a discount, it complies with Connecticut law,” officials said in a press release.
“These so-called convenience fees may be common, but they are not legal in Connecticut. Businesses may offer cash discounts, but they cannot tack on extra fees for using a credit card. Know your rights, and don’t pay more than you should,” said Attorney General William Tong.
Ways to protect yourself from unlawful surcharges:
- Watch out for “transaction fees,” “processing fees,” or “convenience fees.” These might be hidden surcharges.
- Check the register, the menu, or your bill for a sign or fine print stating that a surcharge will be added if you do not pay with a preferred payment method. Remember, a business may give you a discount for paying by cash, it just cannot charge you a fee if you use a credit card.
- Ask the cashier, server, or other employee whether a surcharge will be charged if you pay with a credit card before you hand your card over. It is easier to avoid paying the charge than to try to get it refunded.
If you believe a business is unlawfully issuing a surcharge for using a credit card, contact the Office of the Attorney General at 860-808-5000 or firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the Department of Consumer Protection at email@example.com.