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Governor Hochul signs landmark legislation to ensure transparency in credit card transactions

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In a move aimed at bolstering consumer rights and enhancing transparency in financial transactions, Governor Kathy Hochul announced the signing of a new consumer protection law set to take effect on February 11, 2024.

This legislation, which amends and clarifies New York’s existing credit card surcharge law, underscores the state’s commitment to safeguarding consumers’ interests. Notably, the law empowers the New York State Division of Consumer Protection, the Attorney General, and local governments to enforce regulations governing credit card surcharges.

The law, signed by Governor Hochul on December 13, 2023, introduces significant measures to ensure greater transparency and protection for consumers. It restricts credit card surcharges to the precise amount levied on businesses by credit card companies. Additionally, it mandates that businesses display, prior to checkout, either the total price of an item or service inclusive of the credit card surcharge or a two-tiered pricing option, which juxtaposes the credit card price with the cash price.

Addressing the necessity for clarity and transparency in consumer transactions, New York Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez emphasized the right of consumers to be informed about the total cost of their purchases, including any associated surcharges. This sentiment was echoed by State Senator Jeremy Cooney and Assemblymember Amy Paulin, who hailed the law as a crucial step towards empowering consumers and fostering fair business practices.

To assist businesses in adhering to the new regulations, the Department of State has developed a comprehensive Credit Card Surcharge Guide and instructional video. These resources offer practical insights and examples to ensure compliance with the law’s requirements, thereby promoting transparency and preventing consumer exploitation.

Following the law’s implementation, scheduled for February 11, 2024, local governments will have the authority to enforce its provisions, thereby expanding resources available to consumers for compliance assistance and enforcement. In cases of suspected non-compliance, consumers are encouraged to lodge complaints with the Division of Consumer Protection, the Attorney General, or participating local governments.

The New York State Division of Consumer Protection stands committed to equipping consumers with the necessary tools and knowledge to safeguard their rights in the marketplace. Through educational initiatives, mediation services, and complaint resolution mechanisms, the division endeavors to uphold consumer interests and promote fair and transparent business practices. For further assistance or to file complaints, consumers can reach the Consumer Assistance Helpline or visit the Division of Consumer Protection website and social media channels for updates and resources.

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