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Tenn. AG warns against deceptive credit card surcharges

Credit cards vs. debit cards: Which is better and safer?
Posted at 3:35 PM, Feb 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-12 16:38:16-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III warned Tennesseans of hidden charges on their credit card transactions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Businesses that fail to clearly disclose any differences in charges for credit card, debit card, and cash prices may violate state law.

“Consumers deserve to know exactly how much they are paying for a product or a service,” said General Slatery in a press release. “Any credit card surcharges need to be communicated clearly and in advance.”

WHAT TO DO:

  • Check the receipt to make sure the price charged matches the advertised or posted price of an item (plus tax, if applicable).
  • Look for the seller to display the full price (excluding tax) using each method of payment accepted. For example, the merchant should display the full price if the customer pays by credit card and separately the full price if the customer pays in cash.
  • Be wary of a credit card surcharge that exceeds the actual incremental cost of the operating expense which is typically around 1%-1.5%.
  • Look out for credit card surcharges characterized as “cash discounting.” Discounting occurs only when the consumer is invited to pay less than the full posted price.
  • If you think a seller is improperly charging customers, failing to disclose what it is charging, or otherwise engaging in false or misleading sales practices, you can file a complaint with the Tennessee Attorney General's Office here: tn.gov/consumer or contact your credit card company.