Nothing in Colorado is certain except death, taxes and credit card surcharges imposed by government.
Last week’s column about how retailers are not allowed to impose credit card charges in Colorado resulted in a tidal wave of responses from readers on voice mail and via e-mail.
“Wait a minute!” was the collective response. “If credit card surcharges are illegal in Colorado, how come I have to pay them to the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles, or Colorado Springs Utilities, or El Paso County?”
This is a partial list, but thanks to readers Annie-Marie Young, Chris Rea, Jim Krug, Richard Bertrand and James Bennett for pointing out that when the Colorado Legislature passed a statute in recent years forbidding retailers from imposing surcharges for credit card transaction, it exempted governmental entities.
Isn’t it always the way? Colorado’s much ballyhooed “no call” list was created to protect citizens from bothersome phone calls from solicitors, but among those exempted from the law were — you guessed it — political campaigns calling for donations.
On its web site the Colorado Attorney General’s Office explains state law concerning credit card surcharges and says “This prohibition does NOT apply to convenience fees charged by a state or local government entity which accepts payment by credit or charge card.”
Readers didn’t all complain, but they uniformly see it for what it is.
In paying her bill to Colorado Springs Utilities, Annie-Marie Young wrote “there is a $3 surcharge no matter how much the payment is.”
Jim Krug wrote “The state uses a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ policy on credit card charges.... If you want to get a copy of a birth certificate, marriage license, etc from the state, they will not take credit cards but they refer you to a 3rd party vendor who will take the credit card but also include additional fees. If private businesses try such policies, it is illegal and you can bet the politicians would change it but it is okay for government entities to exempt themselves.”
James Bennett wrote, “I just received my tax bill for property I own in Aurora. I went online to pay it and found that Arapahoe County charges a 2.5 percent surcharge for paying taxes with a credit or debit card.”
Got a question? Contact Barry Noreen at 636-0363 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter. Hear him on KRDO â€¨NewsRadio 105.5 FM and 1240 AM at 6:35 a.m. Fridays.