It’s not legal for a store to charge an extra fee or percentage when customers pay by credit card, but it is legal to offer a discount to customers who pay in cash. Great. The flaw in this plan is that, at least in New York state, there aren’t any laws regulating how big that discount can be. Which is why some Long Island gas station operators recently hiked the price per gallon of gas a dollar, then offered a one-dollar discount to customers who pay cash.
At a station in Brentwood, N.Y., for example, the posted cash price was $3.859 per gallon earlier this week, but credit card customers were charged $4.859. The average price at other stations was around $3.85 at the time.
“It’s really aggravating to me. It gives the industry a bad name,” the president of the Long Island Gasoline Retailers Association told Newsday.
Since the amounts of cash “discounts” aren’t regulated by the state attorney general’s office, this isn’t illegal and the stations won’t be prosecuted. Let’s hope that the invisible hand of the free market smacks the owners upside the head.
Outrage as gas cash-credit gap reaches $1 [Newsday] (Thanks, Frank!)