Ocean County Consumer Affairs on The Lookout For Credit Card Surcharges

The Ocean County Department of Consumer Affairs is working to make certain consumers in Ocean County are not overcharged when it comes to credit card surcharges.

“With new rules recently put in place by the state of New Jersey, our Department of Consumer Affairs is following the lead of the state Division of Consumer Affairs by implementing a warning campaign and checking on businesses that imposes surcharges on consumers,” said Director of the Ocean County Board of Commissioners Joe Vicari, liaison to the Ocean County Department of Consumer Affairs.

“Our efforts are to make sure businesses are treating customers fairly.”

According to the Credit Card Surcharge Law, a seller shall not impose on a customer who uses a credit card for a transaction a surcharge that is greater than the actual cost to the seller to process the credit card payment.

Similar to refund policies, a business that charges a surcharge must display the amount of the surcharge to the customer prior to the customer incurring any charges for goods and services. In addition, notice must be displayed at point of entry, point of sale/customer service area and in the case of a restaurant on a printed menu, according to Ronald Heinzman, Director of the Ocean County Department of Consumer Affairs.

The law also covers Internet sales, mobile applications and telephone sales.

“Simply put the consumer must be advised of the surcharge amount prior to their credit card being charged,” Heinzman said. “The new law was created to protect consumers from establishments that overcharge when it comes to credit card surcharges.”

Vicari said members of the Ocean County Department of Consumer Affairs have started a warning campaign in line with the State.

“Our goal is to promote awareness and at the same time be business friendly with our County businesses,” Vicari said. “For the most part, business owners in Ocean County are hardworking community-minded people that abide by the rules. In some cases, business owners are just now aware of the rules and we are here to provide them with information that will help.

“Unfortunately there are also those who will try and get around the rules,” Vicari said. “Consumer Affairs is here to making certain customers are treated properly and businesses know and follow the law.”

“While we are actively out in the field spot checking businesses of every type consumers who wish to file a complaint can also do so by calling the Ocean County Department of Consumer Affairs by calling 732-929-2105,” Heinzman said.

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