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Calling other bakeries for prices... - Page 2

post #16 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by snarkybaker

For example, in one round, I found out that a pretty well known home decorator around here charges an extra 3% to use a credit card. That is against Federal Law.



Just to clear something up (or, possibly, muddy the waters): no, it is not against Federal law. Visa and MasterCard prohibit surcharges for using their credit cards and American Express discourages them. In addition, some states have laws that make surcharges illegal, but they are not illegal under Federal law. Personally, I think it's more than a little scuzzy for a business to do it. And companies can always get around it by charging X price, but cutting X% off for customers that use cash.
post #17 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quantum

Quote:
Originally Posted by snarkybaker

For example, in one round, I found out that a pretty well known home decorator around here charges an extra 3% to use a credit card. That is against Federal Law.



Just to clear something up (or, possibly, muddy the waters): no, it is not against Federal law. Visa and MasterCard prohibit surcharges for using their credit cards and American Express discourages them. In addition, some states have laws that make surcharges illegal, but they are not illegal under Federal law. Personally, I think it's more than a little scuzzy for a business to do it. And companies can always get around it by charging X price, but cutting X% off for customers that use cash.



Yes actually it is against the law:

The Federal Truth in Lending Act states: 167, (2) No seller in any sales transaction may impose a surcharge on a cardholder who elects to use a credit card in lieu of payment by cash, check, or similar means.
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Scratch bakers of the world UNITE !!
Inrideo ergo sum ~ I snark therefore I am.
Cake or Death?......Cake Please!
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post #18 of 62
Just an aside here but it pisseth me off--the state of TENNESSEE charges a surcharge if you pay for your tags or your license with a credit/debit card.
my cookies are prettier than your cookies because this is the second time i substituted my opalescent sanding sugar when i ran out of sugar to make the batch ha!

 

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my cookies are prettier than your cookies because this is the second time i substituted my opalescent sanding sugar when i ran out of sugar to make the batch ha!

 

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post #19 of 62
Yeah, and NY state charges a surcharge if you pay your parking fines w/ a cc, too. we should report them to the feds. Now that should get us somewhere.....
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When the going gets tough, the tough start baking!
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post #20 of 62
No reason for me to jump into this, and certainly not to be contrary, but ...

I wasn't absolutely certain, but having worked in banking for decades, I thought I recalled that the cited ban on surcharges expired some time ago. I did a little research and found this on the FDIC's current website when I searched for "truth in lending credit card surcharge":

http://www.fdic.gov/regulations/laws/rules/6500-500.html#fdic6500167

§ 167. Use of cash discounts

(a) With respect to credit card which may be used for extensions of credit in sales transactions in which the seller is a person other than the card issuer, the card issuer may not, by contract or otherwise, prohibit any such seller from offering a discount to a cardholder to induce the cardholder to pay by cash, check, or similar means rather than use a credit card.

(b) With respect to any sales transaction, any discount from the regular price offered by the seller for the purpose of inducing payment by cash, checks, or other means not involving the use of an open-end credit plan or a credit card shall not constitute a finance charge as determined under section 106, if such discount is offered to all prospective buyers and its availability is disclosed clearly and conspicuously.

[Codified to 15 U.S.C. 1666f]

[Source: Section 167 of title I of the Act of May 29, 1968 (Pub. L. No. 90-321), as added by section 306 of title III of the Act of October 28, 1974 (Pub. L. No. 93-495; 88 Stat. 1515), effective October 28, 1975, and as amended by section 3(c)(1) of the Act of February 27, 1976 (Pub. L. No. 94-222, 90 Stat. 197), effective February 27, 1976; and section 101 of title I of the Act of July 27, 1981 (Pub. L. No. 97-25; 95 Stat. 144), effective July 27, 1981]

NOTE

Expiration date of § 167(a)(2). Section 3(c)(2) of the Act of February 27, 1976 (Pub. L. No. 94-222; 90 Stat. 197) as amended by section 201 of title II of the Act of July 27, 1981 (Pub. L. No. 97-25; 95 Stat. 144), states that section 167(a)(2) shall cease to be effective February 27, 1984.


Bold added by me. I also found on Google that some states have imposed a similar ban on credit card surcharges, but I can't cite any past or current regulatory verbiage on that.
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No good deed goes unpunished...
the greater the deed,
the greater the punishement.
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post #21 of 62
Make that easy for me to understand will yah, G'Mom?

I worked in credit card processing and I know it is against the merchant's agreement with the credit card companies to change prices in any way regarding the type of tender offered in the transaction.

It's also bogus to have a minumum--some places want at least $10 spent before you can use your card--not valid--not generally enforced though in my experience.
my cookies are prettier than your cookies because this is the second time i substituted my opalescent sanding sugar when i ran out of sugar to make the batch ha!

 

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my cookies are prettier than your cookies because this is the second time i substituted my opalescent sanding sugar when i ran out of sugar to make the batch ha!

 

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post #22 of 62
i have found when people call for pricing they are shocked to see what a "kitchen aid mixer" would be or a converse sneaker or a deer head...
can you hear my frustration??

I feel that I am reasonable priced for what we do...some of you have said i don't charge near enough for a carved cake. i agree it is difficult.

sometimes when the phone is ringing off the hook with pricing and they don't turn into orders whats a caker to do- go eat some buttercream i guess! icon_smile.gif

i guess the point of this is i get calls all the time for prices....
post #23 of 62
K8Memphis said: Make that easy for me to understand will yah, G'Mom?

Easy to understand? Ha! I don't think the regulators want us to be able to understand!

I am just pointing out from what I see on the FDIC's website that it appears the previously cited reference expired years ago. That would lead one to believe that surcharges are indeed legal, except in the states where it is prohibited.

Having said that, credit cards are not my thing. I doubt anyone is at work today who can clarify this, but I will see if I can get more help on the topic. We are a major bank holding company and a credit card issuer, so someone around here should know. I'll post what I find out.
No good deed goes unpunished...
the greater the deed,
the greater the punishement.
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No good deed goes unpunished...
the greater the deed,
the greater the punishement.
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post #24 of 62
Well, nobody in today who can help, but I did find that VISA does prohibit merchants from charging surcharges:

http://usa.visa.com/merchants/operations/no-surcharge.html

and the Mastercard website cites the same policy, but in a PDF that I can't copy here.

I read that Discover and American Express do not have this policy.

VISA and MC sites both said cash discounts are permitted as long as they are offered to all customers. That all sounds like smoke and mirrors to me!

Of course, card companies prohibiting surcharges by means of their own policies is not the same thing as it being illegal to charge surcharges.

In several sites on the web the following states are listed as prohibiting credit card surcharges by law:

California
Colorado
Connecticut
Florida
Kansas
Maine
Massachusetts
New York
Oklahoma
Texas


Enough of this... gotta work!
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the greater the deed,
the greater the punishement.
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No good deed goes unpunished...
the greater the deed,
the greater the punishement.
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post #25 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by snarkybaker

Quote:
Originally Posted by MCC

If someone asks, I will provide them with an estimate. I would rather my competition ask than send "bride spies". Sending spies costs the competition money...the time they invest in your fake brides and the samples they provide for free just so you can get some info. There's nothing I can't stand more than waste my time and money on a competitor's spy. I've found that if you listen to your brides at their consults, they mention in passing what other bakeries charge without even asking them.



But market research is more than just " price quotes". For example, in one round, I found out that a pretty well known home decorator around here charges an extra 3% to use a credit card. That is against Federal Law. In another, I found out that a decorator that is recomended by a big venue close to me will give a bride a dicsount if she returns her used sugar flowers, which is against health codes. Some are charging "stacking fees" or my favorite, one even charges a "preservation fee", and by that she means that she charges $25 to bring a box for the top tier and saran wrap so the venue can "preserve the anniversary tier".

These are things you wouldn't necessarily found out by calling, but they will help you figure out why another may be cheaper.
For example If I quote a $500 cake...Say cake for 80 ( $400) plus some extra design work in the way of sugarflowers.

Competitor number 1 may quote her $450, but charge her for delivery and then the extra 3% fee..she is in reality more expensive than me.

Number 2 offers her $50 to return her flowers, at which point you need to ask the bride if, perhaps those flowers were in someone elses cake, and maybe they shouldn't have been...


In any case, understanding your market is a lot more than getting phone price quotes. Maybe you need to do it. Maybe you don't. I am of the mind that knowledge is power.



Not sure why you took it this direction. The OP was specific in her question, and I provided a response based on that question. I never stated there wasn't more to market research than obtaining prices. I have two business degrees and understand that quite well. I never indicated what my practices were, only that I would prefer my competition ask me up front rather than spy. Your response targeted toward my post is uncalled for. It is not my business' responsibility to pay for my compeition's market research by expending manpower and free samples to fake brides. When I calculate the money spent on fake brides, it quickly adds up. There are other ways to obtain information. I refuse to send out spies because I think it is unethical. Just my humble opinion. I have better, more effective practices. I've caught more than one bride spy by the questions posed or a slip of the tongue. Not a pleasant position for the bride when she's caught. It's a shame that you really don't care about the cost you are imposing on your competition. The business has to account for the loss. Just the other side of the coin that most people don't want to take into consideration because sending spies is supposed to be the customary thing to do.
post #26 of 62
"Secret Shoppers" is not a new idea, it's not illegal, it's not underhanded, it's not even sneaky. Large, successful chain companies across the country use them on a regular basis.

I consider myself a success if someone wants to Secret Shopper me. No one wants to find out what the BAD companies are doing! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif
post #27 of 62
I used to be a secret shopper. Got nice perks & free/reduced price food.

I mean isn't it a discussion--we are all free to ping and pong back and forth with our comments & opinions.

Quote:
Quote:

Your response targeted toward my post is uncalled for.



Why? I mean you're not addressing me here but it's a discussion--I have a sweeeet sweeeet cyber friend who cannot abide any other opinions but her own--do not challenge her no one on this board-- complete agreement only--control much?

But still yet as a control freak in my own right I am at least careful enough to only try & control what I can control kwim. and half the time that don't work either~~ what???
my cookies are prettier than your cookies because this is the second time i substituted my opalescent sanding sugar when i ran out of sugar to make the batch ha!

 

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my cookies are prettier than your cookies because this is the second time i substituted my opalescent sanding sugar when i ran out of sugar to make the batch ha!

 

Reply
post #28 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

"Secret Shoppers" is not a new idea, it's not illegal, it's not underhanded, it's not even sneaky. Large, successful chain companies across the country use them on a regular basis.

I consider myself a success if someone wants to Secret Shopper me. No one wants to find out what the BAD companies are doing! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif



You're right, Secret Shoppers are not new or illegal. However, a majority of Secret Shoppers are utilized by major corporations to check up on their own stores/restaurants, not the competition. It is their way of ensuring their employees are maintaing good custom service and a clean store. Therefore, I don't think there is anything wrong with me having issue with my competition's spy wasting my time at an hour or longer consult that could be spent on a legitimate bride providing legitimate money for my business. As I stated in my previous post, you can obtain valuable market research from the legitimate brides that come through your door. They talk amongst themselves and openly (unprovoked by the way), and discuss the competition's pricing, etc. I obtain much more valuable information by listening to the brides. I never said I make phone calls, as I don't. However, I would prefer the competition call and talk to me then send a spy. I run a successful business based on what works for me. If a spy works for others, that's great. It's just not for me.
post #29 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by K8memphis-

I used to be a secret shopper. Got nice perks & free/reduced price food.

I mean isn't it a discussion--we are all free to ping and pong back and forth with our comments & opinions.

Quote:
Quote:

Your response targeted toward my post is uncalled for.



Why? I mean you're not addressing me here but it's a discussion--I have a sweeeet sweeeet cyber friend who cannot abide any other opinions but her own--do not challenge her no one on this board-- complete agreement only--control much?

But still yet as a control freak in my own right I am at least careful enough to only try & control what I can control kwim. and half the time that don't work either~~ what???



I'm all open for debate and love to hear all different opinions. It's what makes for a good discussion. I've learned a lot from the forums and new ways of doing things. I had no issue with her take on things. However, her last remark seemed to be a jab rather than anything productive. So hence I responded. icon_biggrin.gif
post #30 of 62
My husband was in banking for 25 years and they sent secret shoppers to open accounts and get loan info from other banks all the time. No biggie .... he always knew when the other banks were doing the same thing to him! icon_biggrin.gif
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