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Local Business Owners Sound Off on New Credit Card Surcharges

Verona and Cedar Grove shopkeepers discuss the new 4% surcharge.

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.

Kathy Bruno February 01, 2013 at 11:42 AM
I believe less people will patronize businesses that charge the extra they are allowed. I know that it is going to be a turn off to lots of folks and they will simply take their business elsewhere!!
kristina February 01, 2013 at 07:53 PM
You are still paying for the fee of using a credit card if a business does not list it separately. At a 4% cost, it will just be included in the price of the item being sold whether you pay cash or credit. It is better to have pricing lower based on a cash price. If you choose to pay with a credit card pay the upcharge just as the business owner has too without penalizing others who wish to pay with cash. The banks are the only winners when it comes to credit cards. They charge extremely high fees to merchants an consumers on every single transaction. Shame on them.
Edwin February 02, 2013 at 02:24 PM
If a business decides to charge this "surcharge" I will take my business somewhere else....I am glad Miele's hasn't yet decided to add the surcharge b/c my family and I order from there on some Sundayss when we have folks over but if they included that surcharge I would have to take my business to another local restraurant. So the question is would you rather lose 100% of someone's business or simply make 96% ,the 4% or so the credit card companies may charge a business owner? And quite honestly if your paying 4% for processing you need to shop around....
george February 04, 2013 at 01:41 PM
my comment is for Steven Amadeo, owner of Miele's Restaurant your business is 90% cash durning the week and 50% on weekends you have a lot of nerve it even comment... where does that cash go...
Jf February 05, 2013 at 01:36 AM
That was not nice George. Many small business owners are barly getting by in this economy. That cash goes in the bank to pay the vendors, mortgage wages utilities etc...

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