Tom Thumb Called Out for New Gas Pricing Policy
DALLAS -- Tom Thumb is being called out by consumers and politicians alike in Texas for implementing a new gas pricing plan whereby consumers using a credit card are charged 10 cents more per gallon at the pump.
Although surcharging is allowed in some states, Texas is not one of them, according to NBCDFW.com, which broadcast a report on Tom Thumb as part of its NBC 5 Investigates Consumer Unit. Under the Texas Finance Code, "a seller may not impose a surcharge on a buyer who uses a credit card."
In fact, a new law sponsored by State Sen. John Carona (R-District 16) would allow the Texas Office of Consumer Credit Commissioner (OCCC) to enforce the code and penalize retailers who impose a surcharge for credit card use.
When contacted by consumers, Tom Thumb issued the following response: "We recently changed our pricing at our gas stations to ensure that customers paying with cash or debit cards always get our lowest price on gas. Our price displayed in front of our stations will be our lower cash/debit price. The price you see posted on the gas pump will be the credit card price, which is 10 cents higher."
OCCC Director of Consumer Protection Rudy Aguilar told the TV station that Tom Thumb's policy is in line with the law because it provides a discount for using cash, not a surcharge for credit card use. "The gas station charge may not be a surcharge," he said.
A Tom Thumb spokesperson told the news outlet via email that the company reviewed the Texas Finance Code and believes it is in compliance with it.
Still, the new policy has turned off some long-time customers. RoseAnna and Bob Kennedy, who have been shopping with the retailer for more than 15 years, characterized the new policy as a "ripoff" and said they will grocery shop and buy gas elsewhere from now on.
“Neither one of us have been in Tom Thumb since that happened, and we’re going to keep it that way,” said Bob Kennedy.
Tom Thumb is a division of Phoenix, Ariz.-based Safeway Inc.