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PRCC: Merchants Unfairly Targeted For Not Having Two Payment Methods

By on July 14, 2016

SAN JUAN—Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce (PRCC) Executive Director Miguel Vargas said Thursday that merchants are unfairly targeted with criminal complaints for not providing customers with two methods of payments, even though they are not required at this time to comply with the law because there are no regulations to enforce it.

MIAMI - MAY 20: Yera Dominguez receives a credit card from a customer for payment at Lorenzo's Italian Market on May 20, 2009 in Miami, Florida. Members of Congress today passed a bill placing new restrictions on companies that issues credit. The vote follows the Senate passage of the bill, which now heads for President Obama's promised signature. The bill will curb sudden interest rate increases and hidden fees, requiring card companies to tell customers of rate increases 45 days in advance. It will also make it harder for people aged below 21 to be issued credit cards. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

“Even though merchants have the disposition of complying with the law, the Senate panel chairman is making an erroneous interpretation of the law and is inciting the public to complain,” he said, referring to Popular Democratic Party (PDP) Sen. Luis Daniel Rivera Filomeno, who chairs the Senate Labor Relations, Consumer Affairs and Job Creation Committee.

He urged the Treasury Department and the Consumer Affairs Department (DACO by its Spanish acronym) to give merchants the space to put in place Act 46, which requires merchants to have two methods of payment, one of which must be electronic.

He said the forced entry of the measure without the regulations for its implementation has created misinterpretations, prompting consumers to bring criminal charges against merchants and an atmosphere of criminalization of the commercial sector.

The regulations were published Thursday but they must go through public hearings. The Treasury Department and DACO, both of which have jurisdiction, cannot impose penalties without the regulations giving merchants guidelines to implement the measure. The chamber said it would propose amendments to the regulations.

On the other hand, the president of the Puerto Rico Medical Surgeon Association, Víctor Ramos, insisted doctors are complying with the law even by providing two methods of payment, even though one of the payment methods is not electronic.

Ramos said Act 46 only benefits private banks, and that forcing doctors to have machines to process credit or debit cards is too onerous when taking into account that they must pay 30 other federal and local taxes.

Rivera Filomeno said doctors are the group of professionals with the most complaints for not having the two methods of payment.

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