September 26, 2008

Los Feliz Car Wash Charges $1 to Run Your Credit Card

Los Feliz Car Wash

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:
"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."
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.

This "fee," common as it might be in these parts, also flies in the face of California Civil Code Section 1748.1:
"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."
How and why do these local shops get away with ignoring the rules? Do they just not know any better?


Leonora Gershman said...

Kaylin's Nails charges a dollar too.

Sean Yoda Rouse said...

Some may not know any better and others probably don't expect their customers to know any better (let alone complain).

Visa says to contact your card issuer to complain.

Phyllis Harb said...

I am sorry to learn this about the Los Feliz car wash as it is one of my favorites - not bad to grab a bite @ the Tam O Shanter across the street while your car is cleaned.

Rachel said...

Thank You for your post, I was just about to go to this carwash until reading your post. I will avoid this place for sure.

SusanJenk said...

Most small businesses either charge extra or do not take credit cards at all. This is because they essentially would have to pay out of pocket for the credit card fees on the low value transactions. Credit card companies charge them an arm and a neck. So at least this place is taking a credit card on low price tabs. The nail place I go to doesn't take credit card AT ALL. But this is place is definitely worth it: they're fast, friendly, and the convenient store is great. People need to learn to carry cash with them.