By now you've probably heard a lot about the recently permitted use of surcharges for consumers who use credit cards. Not a big problem. At least not in these parts.
There are a lot more reasons not to worry at this point than be concerned. Live in Massachusetts? The state law that prohibits surcharges is still there. Nine other states have restrictions on surcharges, too : California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, New York, Oklahoma and Texas.
Plus, retail behemoths Walmart and Target both have said they're not going to assess the fees. It would take a lot of guts - and perhaps a dose of foolishness - to be a competitor of one of those stores and tack on a credit card surcharge, risking giving those two an even bigger price advantage.
If you see the surcharge being assessed online, consider sending a message by buying on a competing site. At a minimum, factor in that added 2-4 percent when comparison shopping.
So, at least in the Bay State, we'll still have our quirky cash discount at gas stations instead of credit card surcharges and we can't be charged more at a store if we want to use a credit card instead of cash.
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About the author
Mitch Lipka is one of America's leading consumer journalists and advocates. He is an expert in product safety, recalls, scams, and helping consumers get out of jams. He is a nationally known consumer columnist and runs TheConsumerChronicle.com. He lives in Worcester. You can find him on Facebook or reach him at ConsumerNews@Aol.com