Merchants Warned To Properly Disclose COVID-19 Surcharges

PHOENIX – The Arizona Attorney General’s Office is warning merchants that they must disclose to consumers in advance if any COVID-19-related surcharges or added fees will be applied to the final price of their goods or services. Specifically, the added charges must be clearly and conspicuously disclosed in advance of the advertising/marketing and during the order process.

“Consumers need to know exactly how much they will be paying for a good or service before making their purchase,” said Attorney General Brnovich. “If a business attempts to deceive or sneak additional fees past consumers, we need them to file complaints with our office and we will take action when necessary.”

According to the Attorney General’s Office (AGO), earlier this year an $11 million consumer fraud settlement with CenturyLink was obtained due to the company’s imposition of a made-up “Internet Cost Recovery Fee” without adequate disclosure to consumers. As part of the settlement, CenturyLink agreed to stop charging the fee to new customers and allow existing customers paying the fee to cancel their plans.

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