April 14, 2010

Yes, Lots of Neighborhood Businesses Do It

Breaks All Kinds of Rules
IN REACTION to my post about Los Feliz Car Wash and its policy of demanding $8.99 minimums on credit-card transactions, here's a gentle bit of criticism on the AVNC Forum:
"Newbie conveniently didn't mention several other businesses in Atwater that have minimums for credit card charges. Whether or not their practices are legal, I won't mention them here by name because I like them and, from reading the posts on these forums, so does everybody else."
Yes, many businesses in Atwater Village and Southern California, especially non-chain, mom-and-pop shops, post credit-card minimums. And yes, I've mentioned others, like El Buen Gusto on Glendale Blvd. and Marlene's Beachcomber in Santa Monica, for enforcing them. Baracoa Cuban Cafe does it, and I love me some Baracoa. I bet the majority of retailers in Atwater Village, outside mega-chains like Best Buy and Starbucks, do it.

But no, credit-card minimums are not illegal. They send no one to jail. They simply violate merchant agreements with credit card issuers, like the 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."
(In 10 states, California included, a credit-card surcharge or card checkout fee is flat-out against the law, and should be reported. Los Feliz Car Wash at one time charged a $1 checkout fee. Word is Kailyn Nail Spa still does.)

It's our choice to patronize businesses that violate agreements and laws. If our desire for cheap tacos outweighs our need for consumer protection, then go for it. If we don't mind not knowing how much stuff we'll have to buy ($5? $10? $8.99?) before our credit cards become valid forms of payment, then keep supporting these bad business habits.

Otherwise, like I'm doing with my car washes, go elsewhere!

Or just pay cash.

1 comment:

xulitron said...

word!