Requiring Minimum Credit Card Purchases is a Violation

Having to purchase a minimum amount at stores might not just be annoying, the merchant could also be in breach of contract with the credit card companies.

Check out page 14 of the Rules for Visa Merchants [pdf].

Might be something to print out and keep in the ‘ol wallet.

UPDATE: The pdf linked to was encrypted so it could only be viewed, not printed, here’s a printable version, thanks to Will!

Stephen of Texas figured the jigger out after he went to an ice cream parlor that wanted a $10 minimum charge. His Butterfinger Vanilla melting letter, after the jump…

icecreamsux.jpg

    “Mr. Popken,
    I am writing with a great story idea (at least I think it’s great) for the Consumerist. It concerns merchants that require minimum purchases when customers use
    credit cards or debit cards to pay for a purchase. Here are the facts.
    This evening, my wife and I went to a restaurant in austin and had a great supper. We decided to go to Amy’s Ice Cream for some dessert. Amy’s is a chain in Austin; they also
    have stores in San Antonio and Houston. We sent to the store in the 3100 block of S. Congress in South Austin. We have been to this location several times in the past. Amy’s ice cream
    is a more high-end product…..somewhat higher on the food scale than Baskin-Robbins. It is extremely good ice cream worth the premium charged. Tonight, we were greeted by a sign on
    the door and also on the ice cream case stating that there is now a “$10.00 Minimum on Credit Card Purchases Please. Thank you!”
    Typically, the bill for two at Amy’s is about $7-8. I couldn’t see any way to spend more unless we took some home……and we didn’t need to do that. Ice cream is a treat, not something
    I need on a regular basis. We left without buying anything…..as I refuse to purchase anything from places that enforce a minimum purchase on plastic.
    I checked the MasterCard merchant rules; what they are doing is totally against their merchant agreement with MasterCard. Other businesses do this as well, but this is the first time I have seen
    one with a $10 limit.
    Somehow, the sign “fell” and I picked it up so as to not clutter the floor in the store. I have scanned the sign and it is attached to this e-mail for an interesting graphic. Maybe you could have some fun with
    this subject; I know other are annoyed with this practice and would be interested in hearing your take.”