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Detail in photo at register sees Melbourne café accused of 'blatant scamming'

Puzzle Coffee in Melbourne has responded to claims it is 'scamming' customers.

A disgruntled customer has accused a Melbourne café of "blatant scamming", posting online an image of two signs at the venue's register which suggest improper practice by the venue.

The words "card payment only" were displayed on the counter of Puzzle Coffee, situated in Southern Cross Station in the heart of Melbourne. Despite the café being well within its right to choose a payment method for patrons, the next sign which highlighted each transaction would incur a 1.2 per cent surcharge left the customer reeling.

The Melbourne cafe's register can be seen with two signs displayed, one which reads 'card payment only' and the other which reads '1.2% debit, credit cards and liven'.
The Melbourne café has been accused of 'scamming' customers by only accepting card payments which incur a surcharge. Source: Reddit/OopsieShouTaoDoopsie

"Ordered a coffee today and wanted to pay cash and was told cash was not accepted," the customer wrote on Reddit on Tuesday. "I was met with, 'my boss's rules not mine'".

Can a cashless venue apply a surcharge to every transaction?

The customer accused the venue of not adhering to the law after learning he would be charged a fee to pay by card. And they are right.

"If there's no way for a consumer to pay without paying a surcharge, the business must include the minimum surcharge payable in the displayed price for its products," the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) states.

Therefore a sign which states each transaction incurs a percentage surcharge of 1.2 per cent is not sufficient enough to accurately notify customers of how much each product is. Instead, the venue is required by law to include the surcharge into each product's price on the menu or displayed list.

For example, if the business charges $5 for a coffee but a compulsory surcharge of 1.2 per cent applies, the consumer cannot actually purchase the beverage for the displayed price and therefore the coffee should instead be displayed as $5.06.

Cashless venues cannot charge a customer a card fee unless it is included in the price of the goods.

Puzzle Coffee responds to 'scamming' claims

The venue confirmed with Yahoo News Australia it was made aware of the issue on Tuesday and have apologised for the wrongdoing.

The outside of Puzzle Coffee in Southern Cross Station in Melbourne can be seen.
A customer buying a coffee from Puzzle Coffee in Southern Cross Station in Melbourne. Source: Instagram

"We were just informed by a customer yesterday and we have since removed the surcharges. We apologise to any customers affected and will be actively providing refunds," a Puzzle Coffee spokesperson told Yahoo News.

"We went cashless during Covid to protect our staff as well as a method to reduce theft by having no cash on premises," she said.

"Our customers mean everything to us and we apologise and will ensure we do what we can to get this right."

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