questionsis it legal to charge a restocking fee for an…

vote-for9vote-against I found this when I was searching around. It's from Georgia but some of the advice might benefit you.


@gideonfrost: ya Ive seen a few somewhat related posts in regards to Georgia and NY, just nothing for online/Pennsylvania.

I figured there would be some sort of Federal statute for online purchases/bad business practices. And if you are ordering from outside of Pennsylvania, I would also assume you fall under Pennsylvania business laws. But I may be wrong in assuming this.


I also read it may be against a Credit Card Merchant agreement (that businesses have with VISA/Mastercard/Discover/American Express).. still trying to find information on that as well


Whether it's legal or not, it seems that it may not be the best practice either from what i've found here:

When it comes to chargebacks (for instance, Mastercard code: 4849: Questionable Merchant Activity), first up is the nominal fee charged for retrieval requests. These requests are made by issuing banks when a cardholder asks about or disputes a charge. Processors vary on what they charge, but this fee tends to fall in the range of $5-15.

If the information obtained in a retrieval request does not satisfy a customer or the customer's issuing bank, the dispute moves to a chargeback and the merchant is then hit with a chargeback fee. Merchants have to pay the chargeback fee even if the cardholder's claim is rejected, and even if the chargeback is a result of fraud or identity theft. This fee can range from $15 — 40.



If a merchant takes a dispute to the arbitration stage, she risks paying in the neighborhood of $400 in various fees to the card brand.

On top of all of these fees, both Visa and MasterCard have a strict limit on the total number of transactions that can be charged back before additional fines and penalties are levied. A merchant whose chargebacks exceed 1% of its total sales volume (the dollar amount, not the number of transactions) becomes subject to a chargeback monitoring program administered by the card brand, which is accompanied by a $5,000 fine. At this point, there is a very good chance that the merchant's account will simply be terminated by its bank or credit card processor.


@devexityspace: Unfortunately when you dispute small charges with your credit card company, they do not always charge back the merchant. That procedure costs the bank money to submit the paperwork and employee manpower to process that claim. It must be done in writing and not by a verbal conversation. Many of the banks might just write off a charge within that $5-$15 range instead of going through the merchant dispute process.

So, in theory, you're correct that it could hurt the merchant if everyone really disputed their charges but in reality it will end up hurting your bank if they are small charges.


I am a Visa/MC/Disc/Amex merchant, and I assure you, if you contest this charge with your credit card company, they will side with you. To charge a restocking fee on merchandise that was never even shipped to you is absurd.

Pursue it that way. Asking whether it is illegal insinuates that you would pursue legal means, such as small claims court. Too much of a hassle. Call your cc company, they will side with you.