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Bill to protect consumers from inflated gas prices tabled

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Suffolk County, NY legislators have tabled a bill that would have protected consumers from being charged exorbitant fees for using their credit cards to by gas at service stations, after its sponsor Legislator Jay Schneiderman (I-Montauk) acknowledged he did not have enough support. The bill would have required gas stations, which charge card users more than 5% than what those paying cash, to install machines at the pumps that would let customers know about the higher credit price and get their permission in writing before filling up.

Opponents to the measure (including gas station owners) stated that signs above the pumps already notify customers of the difference in cost and that installing the type of software needed to comply with Schneiderman’s proposal would only add to the price of gas. Others, such as Legislator Kate Browning (WFP-Shirley) feel “It is time for government to stop telling people what they can and cannot do in running their businesses.”

In the meantime, Presiding officer DuWayne Gregory (D-Amityville) noted the public’s consternation about the practice of charging more for credit card payments by stating that “there is no justification at all for stations to impose prices that can be as much as $1.23 more per gallon than the signs used to lure customers in.”