UPDATE: Requiring Minimum Credit Card Purchases is a Violation

My my, how the rocky road of customer service melts and leaves a sticky trail.

Mike went to Amy’s Ice Cream, the store that Stephen originally complained about for requiring a minimum credit card charge of $10.

We’re not trying to run Amy (pictured, seated far right) out of business, we just think it’s interesting that the merchant credit card processing rules prohibit requiring a minimum purchase amount, yet many stores do it anyway.

If it was important enough to pay lawyers to draft the language into contracts and the ink to print it out, obviously someone, somewhere, thought businesses shouldn’t do this. However, the bad guys aren’t the ice cream parlors, it’s the banks and their usurious fees, which then get passed down to the consumer.

Mike wrote a letter and Amy’s ice cream shoppe wrote back, after the jump…

Mike scribed:


    “Dear Amy,

    I was unhappily disappointed with my last visit because…
    I just went to your location last night. I am 28 years old. I have zero kids, and 1 girlfriend. That means that if my whole family goes to Amy’s and I order what I order and she orders what she orders the total is $8.88. I was greeted with a sign that says we do not accept credit card transactions under $10.00. I do not carry cash, I have not carried cash since about 2001. Cash is dirty, not easily replensiable, and slow. There is no real possibility that I am going to spend 10 dollars ever at an Amy’s at one time. We go to Amy’s often. We will not be going if I have to stop somewhere and get cash first. It is too much of an inconvience to me.

    This new policy doesn’t really fly with me, you are not a small company any longer, you have 10 locations, and I am sure more are coming.

    Also I am not sure if you are aware of your agreement with VISA/MC but in your requirements as a credit card merchant, you are not allowed to require a minimum amount to use a credit card transaction. If they had found out about this restriction, you can have your credit card merchant account taken away.

    All these factors have left me quite upset with this whole thing. I can’t even spend 10 dollars at Amy’s, you are not a small company anymore, and it is against the rules of being a VISA merchant.

    I hope you will reconsider this policy.

    Also your new policy has made internet headlines, at a consumer watch dog website.”

Amy’s reply:

Dear Mike,

First, we are a small mom and pop, we still answer the emails, there isn’t a PR department or marketing wing to answer you complaint. I am sorry that this sigjn upset you. We are trying to keep costs down, so we don’t have to raise prices. Do you realize that your $8.88 transaction can cost up to 10% to process? Do you want us to raise prices to $9.76 for you? The credit card companies charge us a transaction fee, a % of sales fee, a fee if the credit card is not read and has to be hand entered, a fee if we don’t have the billing address zip codes… Are you following me? Tiger Woods is not getting $14 million dollars a year from annual fees. We are facing ever increasing costs for gas, insurance, workers comp etc… None of which you care about, but need to know because I am sure you don’t want us to increase our prices. As for the Visa cards coming to get our account… that would be our lucky day, we spent close to $50,000.00 last year on credit cards. Do our customers spend more because we except credit cards? No, you can only eat so much ice cream. I appreciate you listening to our side, please try to understand. Thanks for the feedback,

Amy and Steve