AG: Hoboken coffee shop among 5 in N.J. that didn’t accept cash or had credit card surcharge


A Hoboken coffee shop is among five in New Jersey that didn’t accept cash or had a credit card surcharge without properly notifying customers, state Attorney General Matthew Platkin announced.

The Hidden Grounds Coffee shop in Hoboken.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“New Jersey consumers deserve to know exactly how much they will be paying when they go to a store and be able to pay however they can,” Platkin said in a statement.

“Many consumers from underrepresented communities do not have access to bank accounts or credit cards. Laws requiring businesses to accept cash protect those consumers and ensure social equity in stores throughout the state.”

In recent months, the state Division of Consumer Affairs’ Office of Consumer Protection received and investigated dozens of complaints from Garden State residents regarding businesses that either charged consumers fees for using credit cards, debit cards, or pre-paid cards without clearly disclosing such fees or that did not accept cash offered by consumers as payment.

“A person selling or offering for sale goods or services at retail shall not require a buyer to pay using credit or prohibit cash as payment in order to purchase the goods or services,” the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act states.

“While the law permits businesses to charge card surcharges, it also requires businesses to be transparent with consumers and disclose those fees prior to purchase,” added Division of Consumer Affairs Acting Director Cari Fais.

“The law also protects consumers’ right to pay for goods and services with cash. The enforcement actions the Division has recently taken will make sure store owners do not forget their responsibilities to consumers under the law.”

Two notices violation for not accepting cash were issued to Hidden Grounds Coffee – one for their Hoboken location and one for their New Brunswick location – which settled with the Division to resolve its alleged CFA violation.

The business agreed to pay a civil penalty of $2,000 and, among other things, to accept cash as a method of payment and minimize any inconvenience for cash-paying customers.

Hidden Grounds Coffee also agreed to distribute a summary of the Consent Order to management responsible for oversight and training of employees at its retail locations within the state.

Ronnie’s Hot Bagels in Hillsdale, Seymours Bakery & Deli in Clifton, and Skyviews of America in East Rutherford were also cited by the division.

The state urges consumers to check their receipt to make sure the price charged matches the advertised or posted price of an item (plus tax, if applicable) and to look for the merchant to display full price (excluding tax) using each method of payment accepted.

For example, the merchant should display the full price if the customer pays in cash and display the amount that will be charged if a card surcharge applies, which can be stated as a percentage.

To that end, customers are urged to be wary of card surcharges that exceed the actual incremental cost of the processing fee, which is typically around 1 to 5 percent.

Anyone who believe that a business is in violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, are encouraged to file an online complaint. Consumers can also call 1-800-242-5846 to receive a complaint form by mail.

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  1. Poor kids, they were so brainwashed they thought they were at the risk of death from the CCCP virus by handling cash. Unless they were doing heroin every day with an eightball, their risk like most young healthy people was near zero. They were pretty Branch Covidian about it. Refused to spend a nickel with their masked window service only but hey, maybe that’s a $2,000 donation to the almighty State on behalf of your religion. Irony.

  2. If only the government had to listen to the government…NJ MVC doesn’t accept cash, and neither do plenty of other government entities. Cash literally is printed: “THIS NOTE IS LEGAL TENDER FOR ALL DEBTS, PUBLIC AND PRIVATE”