Excess credit-card fees may not come as a surprise to anyone who drives, as gas-stations have been charging credit card purchasers about ten-cents more per gallon of gas for years. Since 2013, it has been legal in Michigan for merchants to charge consumers a surcharge of up to 4% on credit card purchases. Specifically, a merchant is permitted to retrieve the actual cost of a credit card transaction, which usually ranges from 1.5 to 3.5 percent. Merchants may not charge a surcharge on debit or pre-paid card transactions, due to the terms of a class-action settlement with Visa and Mastercard.
If a merchant does decide to recoup credit card charges through this method, they must be cognizant of the fact that the law prohibits them from doing so without properly informing the consumer. In brick and mortar shops, notices must be displayed at the front of the store, along with a notice in the area of payment. Online merchants must also disclose surcharges prior to checkout. All surcharges will be required to be clearly itemized within the receipts.
Lastly, gas station owners should be aware that on and after July 2, 2017, Michigan law will require them to post any credit card surcharges next to their advertised fuel price on road signs. These postings must be at least ½ the size of the sale price and in the same lettering.
This article was written by Nezar Habhab, law clerk.