WXXI News, Rochester
February 8, 2024

A new consumer protection law takes effect Sunday, Feb. 11, which requires more transparency on the part of retailers when they are passing along credit card surcharges.

The law, signed by Governor Kathy Hochul late last year, requires retailers to post information about credit card surcharges the business has to pay if they are then passing those charges along to the customers.

In a statement, Hochul, a Democrat, said that “New Yorkers should never have to deal with hidden credit card costs, and this law will ensure individuals can trust that their purchases will not result in surprise surcharges.”

Local NY State Senator Jeremy Cooney (D-56) sponsored the legislation in the Senate, and he said it will help provide clarity for the customer. He said the new regulations will make buying an item easier to understand.

“I think it’s something that a lot of people have kind of tried to find workarounds over the years,” said Cooney. “This just makes it more clear that if you’re going to charge two different prices, you have to be clear on what you’re charging for, and you can’t charge more than the actual credit card processing fee is to the business.”

Bob Duffy, President & CEO of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, also likes the new law. Duffy said most business owners want this kind of transparency.

“It also reinforces that the business is not making money (on the surcharges). They’re not putting it to the customer, they’re just passing on a charge that the credit card companies passed on to them,” said Duffy.

Amanda Powers heads up marketing and communications for the Retail Council of New York State. Like Duffy, she also said that business owners want this kind of transparency as well.

“Now that these regulations are being made more clear, you know you have to have the proper signage. The key is you have to let the consumer know exactly what’s going on before they check out. It shouldn’t be a surprise to the consumer when they get their bill or their receipt,” said Powers.

Powers said that many retailers also appreciate that the new regulations will bring more attention to what they have to pay credit card companies in surcharges. And for consumers, she said, it’s important for shoppers to understand the fees.

“If you understand these fees, and you’re fine paying them, great,” said Powers. “If you don’t want to pay these fees it’s actually pretty simple, just use a debit card or cash.”

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