Conn Law, PC is investigating potential claims that certain supermarkets in California, including Ralphs, Food 4 Less, and Foods Co., are charging extra fees as part of debit card cash back transactions. These grocery stores call the surcharge a “Cash Back Fee” or “Convenience Fee” and assess a $.50 fee no matter how much cash is withdrawn using a debit card.
While Federal and State law may allow merchants to assess a surcharge for credit card transactions, these laws do not apply to debit cards and merchants should not be able to charge 50 cents, or more, just for you to get money at the register.
Adding “Cash Back Fees” and “Convenience Fees” for debit card check outs may violate the Visa and Mastercard Rule and Regulations and imposing these fees may be considered an unfair and deceptive business practice under California law.
The Visa merchant rules are clear that “U.S. merchants cannot surcharge debit card or prepaid card purchases.” And Mastercard’s standard form merchant agreement also specifically states that merchants cannot surcharge for debit card transactions.
Adding a cash back fee whenever a customer completes a cash back transaction using a debit card would violate these rules. According to one article, by assessing these “convenience” fees, Kroger, the parent company of Ralphs, Food 4 Less, and Foods Co., is able to take an extra $75 million a year from its customers. The fifty cent fees add up.
If you are a California consumer that has been assessed a cash back fee or convenience fee as part of getting cash back at the register using your debit card, you may be entitled to compensation.
We are currently investigating the potential unlawful and unfair debit card cash back and convenience fees added by Ralphs, Food 4 Less, and Foods Co. If you believe that you have been charged a $.50 fee as part of a debit card cash back withdrawal, please fill out the form below.