ED Magedson – Founder
Pancho's Mexican Buffet4550 Gus Thomasson #68 Mesquite, Texas USA
Pancho's Mexican Buffet Charging Convenience Fee to Use Debit Cards in violation of the rules Mesquite Texas
On 10/9/13 my family visited Pancho’s Mexican Buffet in Mesquite, TX for dinner. When we checked out I paid with my debit card. After we returned home I noticed a fee labeled “SVC” on my debit card receipt for $0.49 and the total did not match the original itemized receipt amount.
I called the restaurant manager to inquire as to what the charge was for and I was told that fee is automatically added to every debit transaction by their third party card processing company. He said that is the charge for processing the card and they are passing it on to the customers. I told him that is not legal in the state of Texas and he said if I don’t like it to call the corporate office and gave me their number.
When I called I was given a gentleman by the name of Chad who repeated that this is the charge to process the card and they are simply passing it to the customers. [continued below]....
Devin McCloud from BTI called and identified himself as the card processor for Pancho’s and wanted to explain the legalities of what they were doing. He began telling me the difference in a surcharge, which he acknowledged is illegal in Texas, and a convenience fee. I explained to him I know the difference and the problem with the convenience fee scenario is that he is not the direct merchant but a third party, Pancho’s advertises Visa and MasterCard as standard accepted methods of payment, the transaction was face to face, and I was never offered the opportunity to cancel the transaction rather than pay the fee. He then decided that it was actually a cash discount they are offering and the $0.49 charge was the difference for not paying cash.
The problem with that is that he is not the direct merchant, he is not the one selling me a product or service nor does his company own or operate Pancho’s restaurant. He is a third party processor who was not on site at that location so even if you assume my transaction was with his company and not Pancho’s, which is the merchant listed on the receipt, there was not an option to pay his company cash since they are not there to collect it. The only means by which I can pay his company is via debit or credit since it would then be essentially a non face to face transaction. You can’t offer a cash discount if there is no option to pay the company cash.
To be fair, they do have a sign posted that reads “A $0.49 customer service charge is applied to all store sales. Credit Card and Cash Discount As an incentive for customers we now provide a discount to pay with credit card, cash or in-store gift card by giving a $0.49 immediate discount. Pay by Cash or Credit Card and Save!” The problem with this is that when you pay by cash they still charge you the $7.99 posted menu price with no discount. But if you pay by debit card they actually ADD $0.49 to the total making it MORE than the posted menu price which then makes it a surcharge or fee, not a discount.
Not to mention it is actually even listed on the receipt as “SVC” and 2 separate representatives of the restaurant told me it was the processing charge being passed on to the customer. The one thing everybody I spoke to agreed on was that the $0.49 charge goes directly to the processor and not to Pancho’s so Pancho’s, the actual merchant, can not possibly claim that they are offering a cash discount. At this point he told me that the owner of their company has been in business for 30 years and they have “installations all over Texas” and “a letter from Greg Abbott giving us permission to do this.” They said they have had other complaints about the charge but they are still charging everyone and do not intend to stop.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 10/17/2013 06:43 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/panchos-mexican-buffet/mesquite-texas-75150/panchos-mexican-buffet-charging-convenience-fee-to-use-debit-cards-in-violation-of-the-r-1092746. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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