U.S. Supreme Court may rule on Florida credit card law

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) – Four Florida businesses, including a discount furniture store, are part of a lawsuit over whether the companies can charge extra to someone using a credit card. The case could soon be on its way to the US Supreme Court.

Under Florida law, merchants can’t charge you more for using a credit card unless they post two sets of prices: one for cash and one for credit. They can offer you a discount for using cash.

“So, everyone’s paying a higher price for goods for the few who choose to use credit cards,” says Duana Palmer, owner of Tallahassee Discount Furniture.

Tallahassee Discount Furniture is a stone’s throw from the state capitol. It advertises prices well below retail. Dana was told to stop charging more for the use of a credit card or face a fine or jail.

“I had no idea it was illegal. It made sense to me to keep my prices down. So I said this is the price, this is what it costs if you use your credit card,” says the owner.

Duana sued and won. A federal appeals court said her pricing strategy was free speech. But Florida’s Attorney General is now asking the US Supreme Court to step in and uphold the law, arguing customers shouldn’t be “Ambushed” by higher prices at checkout.

“Why should it be a crime? And we’re being honest with them. This is what they are charging us…if you want to use this method of payment, then we have to pass that fee on. Certainly not trying to ambush anybody. My goal is to give the best pricing as possible” says Palmer.

Florida is one of just ten states that don’t allow credit card surcharges. Forty other states do.

The Attorney General’s Office declined to comment, saying it would be inappropriate because of the ongoing litigation.

We asked if it wouldn’t be easier to just post two prices, one for credit and one for cash. Ms. Palmer responded that it would be time-consuming and only add more overhead for staff to post the prices.

Get our hottest stories
delivered to your inbox
Sign up for News Channel 8’s Noon Newsletter to get
updates on the day’s top stories

WFLA.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s