Businesses now adding surcharges to cover COVID-19 costs

ByRoxanne Bustamante KTRK logo
Friday, May 15, 2020
Businesses now adding surcharges to cover COVID-19 costs
You might start noticing an extra line at the bottom of your receipt soon.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- As Texas continues to reopen, some businesses and restaurants are adding an extra line at the bottom of your receipt to help cover the cost of expenses.

Rachel Gower, owner of the Upper Hand Salon, said reopening their doors took weeks of planning and cost the business thousands of dollars to get the equipment and supplies needed to reopen safely.

"I think, as a whole, the industry is stepping up and really making sure we're doing this right," Gower said. "The cost of reopening includes all the extra supplies that we need and all the cleaning supplies that we need. It's worth it! It's absolutely worth it!"

That's why her salon, like many others, is adding a $3 "sanitation charge" to make sure they can continue to provide the service.

Scott Taylor with University of Houston's Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant management said the surcharge could come to a shock to some customers if they are not expecting it.

"It is easier for them to go in and put a little charge in the system," Taylor explained. "But psychologically, as a consumer, I'm seeing an addition to my receipt rather than a price change. It's a different thing.

It's the same money at the end of the day, but psychologically, it's a different impact."

Not all customers or owners agree with adding the surcharge to customers.

According to the Better Business Bureau, some restaurants may be adding a small surcharge to cover the cost of supplies during this time. Plus, international shipping companies have added a surcharge due to COVID-19 issues as well.

The BBB asks for business owners to notify consumers in advance if they plan to add the surcharge to the bill.

"Someone makes the point to tell the customer ahead of time before they place an order, before that check hits their table," Taylor said.

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