By: Hannah Paczkowski
Sen. John Harms is proposing a bill that requires businesses to inform a customer if a pre-authorization hold is put on their account. Today he presented his legislature at a hearing.
"I simply cannot fathom why merchants or any business should hold any dollar amount above the purchase price of the product or the item without first telling the public the professional courtesy of 'I'm going to do this to you,'" he said.
This proposal only applies to a debit card transaction. What Harms said the problem is, is that when people with a low income go to a gas station, pay at the pump with a debit card, extra money on top of their transaction is put on hold from their account for up to 72 hours.
Harms said it's wrong not to inform customers that this could happen, but a representative from a retailer said putting up another sign will just fade into the background.
"What you're doing is you're just adding more visual pollution to islands full of messages already that say flammable, hazardous, no smoking," Kathy Sifken, executive director of Nebraska Grocery Industries, said.
"I believe if more people were aware of pre–authorization today, this room would be full because we don't know this is happening to us," Harms said.
If this bill does pass onto a vote and ultimately becomes law, a business that is not in compliance could face a penalty up to $2 thousand in fines.
Harms and Sifken did say the best way to avoid these holds at gas stations are to go inside and pre-pay with your debit card, rather than making a transaction at the pump.