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Local Retailers Cited for Restricting Cash Payments in Violation of Consumer Fraud Act

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MORRIS COUNTY — The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act (CFA) allows establishments to impose a surcharge on customers who choose to pay for goods or services using a credit card but requires them to disclose that they are adding the fee, and the amount, to consumers before the customer is charged.

The following local businesses were cited for failing to clearly and conspicuously provide notice to customers regarding surcharges:

Hot Bagels and DeliBoontonMorris
Uzbekistana RestaurantBoontonMorris
Café CrevierDenvilleMorris
King’s Kid DelicatessenPequannockMorris

The civil penalties assessed against each business ranged from $500 to $4,000, depending on the nature and number of violations found.

Raising Public Awareness of Credit Card Surcharge Laws

Legislation signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy in August 2023 enhances the protections under the CFA by limiting the amount merchants may charge in credit card surcharges and adding specific requirements for how and where disclosure of these so-called “swipe fees” must be displayed.

To facilitate compliance with the law, the Division today published a comprehensive guidance document to help merchants and consumers understand their obligations and rights under the law. The guidance document, titled “Credit Card Surcharges: Frequently Asked Questions,” provides a detailed explanation of P.L. 2023, c. 146, which prohibits merchants from charging credit card surcharges that exceed their actual cost to process credit card payments.

The law also requires businesses to disclose the amount of any credit card surcharge before the consumer incurs any charges by posting a notice in at least two places. Restaurants must display notices in the customer service area and on the menu. All other businesses must display notices on a sign at the point of entry and at the point of sale. The law provides an exception and alternative disclosure requirements for transactions made online, through mobile apps, electronic kiosks (like self-serve checkout), and over the phone. Additionally, the law permits the Division to inspect businesses’ account books or other records to ensure compliance with surcharge caps.

Inspections of baggage scales at both Newark Liberty International Airport and Atlantic City International Airport were conducted by OWM inspectors, under the supervision of Inspector Bryan Thomson. Personnel from the Office of Weights and Measures in Elizabeth assisted in the testing of scales in EWR’s Terminal A. Personnel from the Office of Weights and Measures in Atlantic City assisted in the testing of scales at ACY.

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Frank Cahill
Frank Cahillhttps://www.frankcahill.com
Publisher of Parsippany Focus since 1989 and Morris Focus since January 1, 2019, both covering a wide range of events. Mr. Cahill serves as the Executive Board Member of the Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce, President Kiwanis Club of Tri-Town, and Chairman of the Parsippany-Troy Hills Economic Development Advisory Board. Owner of the Morris now app serving small business in Morris County.
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