ASSEMBLY, No. 3868

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

215th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED FEBRUARY 21, 2013

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  PAUL D. MORIARTY

District 4 (Camden and Gloucester)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires retail mercantile establishments to disclose surcharges on consumer credit card transactions; provides certain limitations on surcharge amounts.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning credit card surcharges and supplementing P.L.1960, c.39 (C.56:8-1 et seq.).

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    As used in this act:

     “Credit card” means a card, plate or other single credit device that may be used from time to time to obtain credit.

     “Merchandise” means any objects, wares, merchandise, commodities, services, or anything offered directly or indirectly to consumers for sale or rental at retail.

     “Retail mercantile establishment” means any place of business where merchandise is offered at retail to consumers.

     “Surcharge” means any additional amount imposed by a retail mercantile establishment at the time of a sales transaction that increases a charge to a consumer for the use of a credit card.

 

     2.    a. A retail mercantile establishment that imposes a surcharge on a consumer who uses a credit card instead of cash, check, or any similar means of payment, shall disclose to consumers:

     (1)   the establishment’s surcharge policy in clear and conspicuous language, including the amount of the surcharge expressed as a percentage of the transaction amount, at the point of entry into the establishment and at the point of sale, and  on the establishment’s Internet homepage if the establishment offers merchandise through the Internet; and

     (2)   as to each transaction, the dollar amount of the surcharge and the surcharge expressed as a percentage of the transaction amount, on the cash register receipt or on the Internet transaction receipt, as applicable, that is provided to the consumer at the point of sale. 

     b.    A retail mercantile establishment shall not impose a surcharge that exceeds the amount that the establishment actually pays to a third party entity for the services that allow the establishment to accept and process payments made through credit cards.

     c.     Any violation of this section shall be an unlawful practice and a violation of P.L.1960, c.39 (C.56:8-1 et seq.).

 

     3.    This act shall take effect on the 60th day next following enactment.


STATEMENT

 

     This bill requires retailers to make certain disclosures to consumers about surcharge policies for the use of a credit card, and provides certain limitations on surcharge amounts.

     Specifically, the bill requires retailers that impose a surcharge on a consumer who uses a credit card instead of cash, check, or any similar means of payment, to disclose to consumers: (1) the retailer’s surcharge policy in clear and conspicuous language, including the amount of the surcharge expressed as a percentage of the transaction amount, at the point of entry into the retail establishment and at the point of sale, and on the retailer’s Internet homepage if the retailer offers merchandise through the Internet; and (2) as to each transaction, the dollar amount of the surcharge and the surcharge expressed as a percentage of the transaction amount, on the cash register receipt or on the Internet transaction receipt, as applicable, that is provided to the consumer at the point of sale. 

     The bill also prohibits a retailer from imposing a surcharge that exceeds the amount that the retailer actually pays to a third party entity for the services that allow the retailer to accept and process payments made through credit cards.

     Under the bill, a violation is an unlawful practice under the consumer fraud act. An unlawful practice is punishable by a monetary penalty of not more than $10,000 for a first offense and not more than $20,000 for any subsequent offense.  In addition, a violation can result in cease and desist orders issued by the Attorney General, the assessment of punitive damages, and the awarding of treble damages and costs to the injured party.