Member's Press Release

Release Date: 01/28/2013
Contact: Senator Chafin at (304) 235-2221

Senator H. Truman Chafin

Chafin Opposes Credit Card Surcharge Fee

Senator H. Truman Chafin, (D-Mingo), today announced that he strongly opposes allowing any merchants to tack on a surcharge of up to 4 percent extra onto your credit card bill simply because you paid with a credit card. The Senator said that it's been a long time practice for most credit card issuers to charge merchants a "so called interchange fee" which earned credit card companies a lot of money.

Under a proposed legal settlement, some merchants can begin soon charging consumers for using a credit card.

Many customers are not aware of the new credit card surcharge and many customers have been unaware that credit card issuers have been charging merchants credit card fees for some time, the Senator said. Chafin plans to introduce legislation to prohibit merchants from doing to West Virginia customers what has been done to them for a long time, that is, charge customers a credit card fee of up to 4 percent simply for using a credit card.

Chafin said under a U. S. District Court ruling last year that merchants may be allowed to pass along the costs of those credit card interchange fees to customers and that some states have protection laws for customers regarding credit card fees and surcharges and he plans to introduce similar legislation to protect West Virginia customers.

Senator Chafin said that under consumer protection laws, merchants should provide "clear and conspicuous disclosure" if any such fees or surcharges are going to be passed along to customers.

“In tough economic times, our West Virginia consumers simply cannot afford further credit card surcharges and I urge my legislative colleagues to join with me to protect the consumers of West Virginia,” the Senator said from his Williamson law office Monday afternoon.

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