CA Senate Bill 478- "Junk fees" bill

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storewanderer
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Re: CA Senate Bill 478- "Junk fees" bill

Post by storewanderer »

It is a complicated tangled up web.

There are point of sale providers and payment processors in CA (who probably support these politicians) who have lured numerous restaurants to their "service" due to their solutions having the ability to apply this surcharge thing "automatically" and "remove the card processing surcharge automatically" when a cash purchase is done. These solutions cost more money monthly as the restaurant never owns the system outright but pays fees to this POS provider/payment processor every week/month.

So they go to a restaurant who has an older Aloha or older Micros system that they bought years ago and own outright (so the only cost they pay out is payment processing, nothing for the POS software) both of which are stronger systems but from the perspective of stuff like surcharging limited that have to have the server manually assess the surcharge to the bills which leaves room for error, inefficiency, etc. and say we have a solution for you our system has "NO CARD PROCESSING FEES" and our payment processing will automate this surcharge process for you... even though these "new" systems aren't as good as what the restaurants have and they have to pay this POS provider monthly/weekly to use it, the POS provider conveniently charges them an amount that is "less than what the payment processing cost them before," (and the payment processing side is now being passed on to the customer- the software handles it all) this is so important that they will change systems and get on these systems with these providers who push them into the surcharge game.

The restaurants who claim this will somehow upend their business are either stupid or just outright crooks.

If I am selling Hamburger for 14.99 then I do
Health and Wellness Benefit Surcharge 8% 1.20
Tax 1.53 (can't make this go away)
Credit Card Surcharge 3% 0.53
Total 18.25

Are the restaurant owners this inept that they cannot simply PRICE THE ITEM ON THE MENU AT THE DESIRED PRICE THEY WANT FOR THE PRODUCT?
Hamburger 16.69
Tax 1.58
Total 18.27

Is it really this hard for them? No wonder restaurants have such a high failure rate.
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Re: CA Senate Bill 478- "Junk fees" bill

Post by BillyGr »

storewanderer wrote: June 8th, 2024, 2:52 pm Define "conspicuously." Unless it is in size 20 font on the front page of the menu, and verbally explained to the customer before they are seated, I don't think it is conspicuous. That may sound extreme, but what if I have bad eyesight, what if I am not fluent in English and do not understand what the printed fee language says?
If someone can't see the print on the menu, they would have to have someone else to read it to them or some other way to find out what is on it (so that way could explain the fee as well).

Also, if you can't read the fee note due to language, you would also not be able to read the rest of the menu - if the menu is printed in a non-English language, then the fee note should be in the same language.
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Re: CA Senate Bill 478- "Junk fees" bill

Post by storewanderer »

BillyGr wrote: June 9th, 2024, 9:01 pm
storewanderer wrote: June 8th, 2024, 2:52 pm Define "conspicuously." Unless it is in size 20 font on the front page of the menu, and verbally explained to the customer before they are seated, I don't think it is conspicuous. That may sound extreme, but what if I have bad eyesight, what if I am not fluent in English and do not understand what the printed fee language says?
If someone can't see the print on the menu, they would have to have someone else to read it to them or some other way to find out what is on it (so that way could explain the fee as well).

Also, if you can't read the fee note due to language, you would also not be able to read the rest of the menu - if the menu is printed in a non-English language, then the fee note should be in the same language.
It'll go in the same spot on the menu the food allergy notices go. Tiny font, grayscale, barely visible unless you hunt for it.

People may have a better basic understanding of words on a menu like "Hamburger" than complicated legal language like "this establishment assesses a service fee of 4% on all transactions to cover health and wellness benefits for our employees AND 'pay cash and save' this establishment assesses a 3% transaction fee on all transactions *cash discount pay with cash and this is waived."

The above is exactly how some menus look in California currently, in size 6 font.
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Re: CA Senate Bill 478- "Junk fees" bill

Post by veteran+ »

storewanderer wrote: June 9th, 2024, 1:49 pm It is a complicated tangled up web.

There are point of sale providers and payment processors in CA (who probably support these politicians) who have lured numerous restaurants to their "service" due to their solutions having the ability to apply this surcharge thing "automatically" and "remove the card processing surcharge automatically" when a cash purchase is done. These solutions cost more money monthly as the restaurant never owns the system outright but pays fees to this POS provider/payment processor every week/month.

So they go to a restaurant who has an older Aloha or older Micros system that they bought years ago and own outright (so the only cost they pay out is payment processing, nothing for the POS software) both of which are stronger systems but from the perspective of stuff like surcharging limited that have to have the server manually assess the surcharge to the bills which leaves room for error, inefficiency, etc. and say we have a solution for you our system has "NO CARD PROCESSING FEES" and our payment processing will automate this surcharge process for you... even though these "new" systems aren't as good as what the restaurants have and they have to pay this POS provider monthly/weekly to use it, the POS provider conveniently charges them an amount that is "less than what the payment processing cost them before," (and the payment processing side is now being passed on to the customer- the software handles it all) this is so important that they will change systems and get on these systems with these providers who push them into the surcharge game.

The restaurants who claim this will somehow upend their business are either stupid or just outright crooks.

If I am selling Hamburger for 14.99 then I do
Health and Wellness Benefit Surcharge 8% 1.20
Tax 1.53 (can't make this go away)
Credit Card Surcharge 3% 0.53
Total 18.25

Are the restaurant owners this inept that they cannot simply PRICE THE ITEM ON THE MENU AT THE DESIRED PRICE THEY WANT FOR THE PRODUCT?
Hamburger 16.69
Tax 1.58
Total 18.27

Is it really this hard for them? No wonder restaurants have such a high failure rate.
YOU NAILED IT!!!!!

👍
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Re: CA Senate Bill 478- "Junk fees" bill

Post by ClownLoach »

veteran+ wrote: June 10th, 2024, 9:03 am
storewanderer wrote: June 9th, 2024, 1:49 pm It is a complicated tangled up web.

There are point of sale providers and payment processors in CA (who probably support these politicians) who have lured numerous restaurants to their "service" due to their solutions having the ability to apply this surcharge thing "automatically" and "remove the card processing surcharge automatically" when a cash purchase is done. These solutions cost more money monthly as the restaurant never owns the system outright but pays fees to this POS provider/payment processor every week/month.

So they go to a restaurant who has an older Aloha or older Micros system that they bought years ago and own outright (so the only cost they pay out is payment processing, nothing for the POS software) both of which are stronger systems but from the perspective of stuff like surcharging limited that have to have the server manually assess the surcharge to the bills which leaves room for error, inefficiency, etc. and say we have a solution for you our system has "NO CARD PROCESSING FEES" and our payment processing will automate this surcharge process for you... even though these "new" systems aren't as good as what the restaurants have and they have to pay this POS provider monthly/weekly to use it, the POS provider conveniently charges them an amount that is "less than what the payment processing cost them before," (and the payment processing side is now being passed on to the customer- the software handles it all) this is so important that they will change systems and get on these systems with these providers who push them into the surcharge game.

The restaurants who claim this will somehow upend their business are either stupid or just outright crooks.

If I am selling Hamburger for 14.99 then I do
Health and Wellness Benefit Surcharge 8% 1.20
Tax 1.53 (can't make this go away)
Credit Card Surcharge 3% 0.53
Total 18.25

Are the restaurant owners this inept that they cannot simply PRICE THE ITEM ON THE MENU AT THE DESIRED PRICE THEY WANT FOR THE PRODUCT?
Hamburger 16.69
Tax 1.58
Total 18.27

Is it really this hard for them? No wonder restaurants have such a high failure rate.
YOU NAILED IT!!!!!

👍
The game is real though. It's hard to measure the subtle price perception of the customer, but you know when you have hit the resistance point. For example if Raising Cane's raises their prices so much as another cent I think I will be done there. The new price for a box combo is $12.99 and I think that is really pushing the envelope. But if they were sneaky and shoved in a small percentage service fee would I notice? Sales tax rates vary so much from city to city these days that I probably would not realize if they stuck a 3% fee or something in there. So theoretically if they hid it well they could probably get away with sticking a small fee in, putting it in microscopic print on the menu board, and playing the old game of "do you want your receipt?"

Yes that is a fast food example versus a sit down restaurant, but we are seeing again some wild extremes in the restaurants. I have seen where the restaurant is not touching the entree prices but appetizers are priced just a dollar or two less. They are also raising prices for drinks to silly stupid levels, Cheesecake Factory doesn't have surcharges but they are now charging $5 for a soda.

So that is why this law was so important, because it is very difficult to make real comparisons of price when you're trying to decide where you're going to eat. If for example a different restaurant has lower menu prices but then tacks on the fee, it still becomes much more difficult to calculate the real price of the meal. And more so, today people are pulling up the menus online and having a discussion about which restaurant to dine at before they even leave their house. So saying that it's okay if the surcharge is in size X print on the paper menu is useless as the majority of the restaurants with these fees will make it so small that it won't be easily read on a tiny cell phone screen. Now restaurant X with a fee looks cheaper than restaurant Y without a fee.
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Re: CA Senate Bill 478- "Junk fees" bill

Post by storewanderer »

Trying to play games and not be straightforward about prices is why this law came into effect in the first place.

If consumers put up with all this (which they have) I guess we get what we get.

I sure don't like it. But I liked this law that was designed to eliminate all these restaurant surcharges. Sigh.

At least we can see airfare prices up front total out the door (unless we book on Spirit or Frontier) on the website. But then it isn't so transparent either as the prices change constantly, in the case of Frontier if you go present yourself in person at the airport to buy a ticket the price is lower as some fees fall off...
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Re: CA Senate Bill 478- "Junk fees" bill

Post by ClownLoach »

storewanderer wrote: June 11th, 2024, 11:29 pm
At least we can see airfare prices up front total out the door (unless we book on Spirit or Frontier) on the website. But then it isn't so transparent either as the prices change constantly, in the case of Frontier if you go present yourself in person at the airport to buy a ticket the price is lower as some fees fall off...
Buying tickets in person at the airport, especially when it is within a short window of the flight, allegedly flags your profile with the TSA resulting in the dreaded "SSSS" ticket which means you have to go to secondary screening where you will be interrogated, searched, luggage searched etc. You basically do not ever want to pay for a plane ticket at the airport. Allegedly if you are flagged for "SSSS" you can be stuck with it on future flights as well and then you may need to file for a "redress number" to be placed with future bookings to remove that flag. It is a mess. Not worth saving a few dollars.
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Re: CA Senate Bill 478- "Junk fees" bill

Post by storewanderer »

Always buy these tickets weeks in advance in person at the airport and never received SSSS boarding pass. I only risk single leg flights with these carriers since they have so few flights in and out of here so there is no risk of missed connection (just risk of missed flight).

The one trend myself and others have observed with this is when we are at an airport and miss a connection and get rebooked on a new flight specifically with United it generates this SSSS boarding pass for the new flight. Multiple of us over the years, and it is random for instace a team of 4 of us miss a connection due to United being delayed, we all get reissued tickets to the same different flight and 1-4 of us will have SSSS. Haven't had this happen with Southwest yet in this scenario and have a lot more experience flying them due to their being the dominant carrier here.
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Re: CA Senate Bill 478- "Junk fees" bill

Post by ClownLoach »

storewanderer wrote: June 12th, 2024, 6:17 pm Always buy these tickets weeks in advance in person at the airport and never received SSSS boarding pass. I only risk single leg flights with these carriers since they have so few flights in and out of here so there is no risk of missed connection (just risk of missed flight).

The one trend myself and others have observed with this is when we are at an airport and miss a connection and get rebooked on a new flight specifically with United it generates this SSSS boarding pass for the new flight. Multiple of us over the years, and it is random for instace a team of 4 of us miss a connection due to United being delayed, we all get reissued tickets to the same different flight and 1-4 of us will have SSSS. Haven't had this happen with Southwest yet in this scenario and have a lot more experience flying them due to their being the dominant carrier here.
Must be because you're getting them far enough in advance not to trigger the algorithm. I guess if the flight is delayed and you're still inside the gate area it doesn't really matter if you get the "SSSS" since you've already been screened? But it would be a pain if you had to leave the secure area and go back to the ticket booth to be rescheduled.
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Re: CA Senate Bill 478- "Junk fees" bill

Post by storewanderer »

ClownLoach wrote: June 13th, 2024, 8:01 am
storewanderer wrote: June 12th, 2024, 6:17 pm Always buy these tickets weeks in advance in person at the airport and never received SSSS boarding pass. I only risk single leg flights with these carriers since they have so few flights in and out of here so there is no risk of missed connection (just risk of missed flight).

The one trend myself and others have observed with this is when we are at an airport and miss a connection and get rebooked on a new flight specifically with United it generates this SSSS boarding pass for the new flight. Multiple of us over the years, and it is random for instace a team of 4 of us miss a connection due to United being delayed, we all get reissued tickets to the same different flight and 1-4 of us will have SSSS. Haven't had this happen with Southwest yet in this scenario and have a lot more experience flying them due to their being the dominant carrier here.
Must be because you're getting them far enough in advance not to trigger the algorithm. I guess if the flight is delayed and you're still inside the gate area it doesn't really matter if you get the "SSSS" since you've already been screened? But it would be a pain if you had to leave the secure area and go back to the ticket booth to be rescheduled.
I think that is already it. But for instance I had a couple coworkers who smoked and if they had to go outside to smoke that was a problem since to get back inside you needed to clear security. I've heard of the SSSS ticket causing a bag search at the gate (not sure how that would work). Maybe when TSA goes and asks to see everyone's boarding passes who is lined up at a gate (haven't experienced that since 2019).
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