Bill would block checkout fees on credit card purchases
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State Rep. Adam Ravenstahl, D-North Side, introduced legislation Thursday that would prohibit retailers in Pennsylvania from imposing so-called checkout fees on credit card purchases.
As of last month, merchants gained the right under a class action settlement with Visa and MasterCard to charge the fees to recoup the swipe fees they pay to process the transactions.
The fees could range from 1.5 percent up to a maximum of 4 percent of the purchase amount.
Still, merchant trade groups contend that most retailers, fearing customer backlash, will not impose the fees.
The practice is already banned in 10 states, including California, Florida and New York.
Under Mr. Ravenstahl's plan, businesses would be prohibited from charging customers checkout fees, but would continue to be allowed to offer discounts for customers who elect to pay in cash.
Violators convicted of a summary offense would face fines of between $300 and $1,000, and could face 90 days in jail, according to the bill.
"While many retailers have said they will not impose the checkout fees, I cannot sit still and watch Pennsylvania consumers be forced to dig deeper into their pocketbooks for no good reason," Mr. Ravenstahl said in a statement.
The bill, House bill 750, was sent to the consumer affairs committee for consideration.
First Published February 16, 2013 12:00 am