ACCORDING TO THE hand-written note on the cash register, Los Feliz Car Wash in Atwater Village (3013 Los Feliz Blvd.) adds $1 to credit-card transactions of $8.99 or less.
So use a Visa card to pay for an "express" exterior wash, the one trumpeted on the large corner sign for $4.99, and ch-ching! It's $5.99. And it violates their merchant agreement with Visa:
I talked them out of the 20% upcharge this time. "Don't tell the boss," I was warned. But this neighborhood joint isn't the only guilty party. Spend $8 at El Buen Gusto on Glendale Blvd., for example, and they round up your credit-card transaction to $10."Visa merchants are not permitted to establish minimum transaction amounts, even on sale items. They also are not permitted to charge you a fee when you want to use your Visa card."
This "fee," common as it might be in these parts, also flies in the face of California Civil Code Section 1748.1:
How and why do these local shops get away with ignoring the rules? Do they just not know any better?"No retailer in any sales, service, or lease transaction with a consumer may impose a surcharge on a cardholder who elects to use a credit card in lieu of payment by cash, check, or similar means."