Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Cash or Credit Fiasco of 2008--I'm At War

I never thought we'd again see the day when the form of your payment dictated the total of your purchase. I thought the credit card companies had put an end to that with their merchant agreements and, in general, the market dictated that such a charge was not acceptable.

So imagine my surprise when my local gas stations start conning people by posting different prices for cash and credit. And not just a couple of cents--at least 10 cents a gallon. I thought this was a local thing, but it turns out it's happening everywhere. The same price cash or credit mindset is gone.

I haven't paid for gas with cash in years. I kind of refuse to start now.

But then I went through my local McDonald's drive through last week and was blindsided by a sign which told me that paying by a credit or debit card would cost me an additional $.25. WHAT? Outrageous!

So what did I do? I paid it.

But then I picked a fight.

Not only did I report them to the credit card companies, but I called the McDonald's headquarters when I couldn't get through to the local store. Within days I had a call from the local store's manager. And this week, CVD told me of a small victory. I think. The store has stopped charging the fee. Instead, like the many gas stations in my area, there is now a different price for cash and credit.

When will this end? The whole point is that merchants get more money when they allow credit purchases because we are becoming a cashless society. Plus, when people aren't constricted by cash on hand, they spend more.

So tell me, why are we paying the merchants to use credit cards when the deck is already stacked in their favor? And why aren't the credit card companies enforcing their merchant rules?

Perhaps because the credit card companies, like the merchants, don't have the consumer's best interest in mind. (BLASPHEMY!) Perhaps, because they don't understand that the consumer can only take so much and that, in the end, they are only hurting themselves.

Perhaps the world has just gone mad.

So here is my approach:
1. Report all merchants I visit that use such an improper system.
2. Chose gas stations who just have one price.

That's all for now. I'm sure there will be more.



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