Allow Credit and Debit Card Surcharges
|Sponsor:||Senator Rod Whittemore, Senate 26 - Cumberland County|
|Bill #:||LD 660|
Support. This is a RAM-initiated bill.
UPDATE: The committee voted the bill Ought Not to Pass, but did direct the Bureau of Consumer Affairs to clarify how merchants can properly advertise cash and credit pricing.
UPDATE 1/20/18: This bill is back in front of the committee on Wednesday. Read the lastest court action on this issue.
UPDATE 4/9/17: The opponents to this bill tried hard to scuttle it during the recent work session. However, their efforts fell short. The committee voted to carry over the bill to 2018. This was the correct action for the committee.
UPDATE 3/30/17: I am pleased to share with you the news that the US Supreme Court ruled yesterday on the Expressions vs. Schneiderman case regarding the issue of allowing retailers and merchants to properly advertise "cash" and "credit" pricing side by side.
The Supreme Court struck down an appellate court ruling that upheld a New York state law banning credit card surcharges and sent the case back to the appeals court to be reconsidered. The justices said the appeals court incorrectly concluded that the surcharge ban regulated only conduct rather than speech.
The surcharge ban “is not like a typical price regulation which simply regulates the amount a store can collect,” the Supreme Court said. “The law tells merchants nothing about the amount they are allowed to collect from a cash or credit card payer. Instead, it regulates how sellers may communicate their prices. In regulating the communication of prices rather than prices themselves (it) regulates speech.”
We agreed with the IFS Committee in its decision to table LD 660 pending the outcome of the case. We would further urge the committee to keep this bill tabled (and possibly consider carrying it over to next year) pending the outcome of the further consideration of the appellate court.
Regardless, we are pleased with the US Supreme Court ruling as we feel that their written opinion and direction to the appellate court is clear. This is the link to the US Supreme Court ruling: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/16pdf/15-1391_g31i.pdf
UPDATE 3/23/17: The committee voted to unanimously table the bill pending the outcome of the US Supreme Court in this matter.
Current law prohibits the seller in a sales transaction from imposing a surcharge on a cardholder who pays using a credit card or debit card. This bill repeals that prohibition.