It may have snuck up on consumers, but Verona and Cedar Grove retailers have mixed feelings about a new surcharge they’re now allowed to tack on to customer costs for using credit cards.
The new rules went into effect on Sunday, Jan. 27, enabling retailers charge an extra four percent if a credit card is used to pay for a purchase.
According to a report from 7online.com, stores must prominently display signs saying they are charging customers for using a credit card. Debit cards are not affected by these new measures.
The new rules have created an explosive outcry from consumers and business owners alike.
Janice and Ralph Cocchi, owners of Home Sweet Home Antiques, located in Verona and Chatham, are against the idea of charging their customers a surcharge.
“Those credit card companies are out of their minds,” said Janice Cocchi. “I understand why, because we pay a lot for the credit card machine, but I don't want to do that to our customers.”
Home Sweet Home offers a 10 percent discount to customers who use cash as an incentive, she said.
“I'm not going to take credit cards at all to fight back,” said Ralph Cocchi, who also owns Remember-When Antiques in Verona. “It's not fair with the high rates of cards right now.”
He said he will still take debit cards and continue to offer incentives for using cash.
Steven Amadeo, owner of Miele's Restaurant in Verona, remains undecided if he will add surcharges, but says it is something to consider.
“Nowadays four percent adds up to a lot on my end and people don't understand that when they use credit cards that offer a rewards program, I absorb the cost,” he said. “I have to pay the credit card fees and the rewards.”
“I like the idea that I'm legally allowed to do that, but it's hard to say in today's economy,” he added. “It's a tough call.”
Other business owners feel just because they can, it doesn't mean they will apply the surcharge.
“Most retailers will probably absorb this cost because we have been absorbing it for years,” said Cedar Grove Chamber of President and Treasures Unlimited Jewelers owner Al Rosen. “This is not a new issue and I'm not sure this is going to be a real big issue with retailers or credit card users.”
Rosen said he will still be accepting credit cards for purchases at Treasures Unlimited and will not be passing along the surcharges to his customers.
See what people are saying on Verona-Cedar Grove Patch; join the conversation and take our credit card surcharge poll.