The Florida Retail Federation, in conjunction with our partners at the National Retail Federation, passes along the good news that U.S. House Republican leaders plan to abandon an attempt to repeal debit card swipe fee reform that has saved retailers and their customers more than $40 billion and brought badly needed competition to the payments market.
Repeal of swipe fee reform would have come as part of the Financial Choice Act, a broad bill that would roll back banking regulations established in 2010 under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
The House is expected to vote on the bill after it returns from its Memorial Day recess in June, and leadership conducted a whip count this week to determine support for the overall measure and provisions such as the repeal of swipe fee reform. A number of Republican House members expressed concerns about repealing swipe reform, and reports indicate tonight that agreement has been reached to drop the provision.
Debit reform was enacted as part of Dodd-Frank in response to the card industry’s practice of price-fixing the debit card “swipe” fees banks charge merchants to process transactions. The fees previously averaged 1-2 percent of the purchase amount, and virtually all banks that issue cards charged the same.
Under reform regulations that took effect in October 2011, large banks are limited to 22 cents per transaction, down from an average 45 cents in the past. The limit saved retailers about $8.5 billion in the first year alone, with close to $6 billion of the savings passed along to consumers, according to a study by economist Robert Shapiro. Banks that set the fees competitively and independently are exempt from the limit, but virtually none have done so. Banks with under $10 billion in assets are also exempt.
Reform also required that merchants be given at least two choices in the networks that route debit transactions to the banks for processing, typically one controlled by Visa or MasterCard and a competing, independent network that can offer advantages such as lower fees, better service or better security.
Save the Date! Tuesday, June 13th from 8:30am-2pm,
No charge to attend but must RSVP in advance
Please RSVP by Friday, June 9th
Special Guest Speakers:
FDEP Staff: Bill Burns, Compliance Administrator; Joe Ullo, Program Director; John Wright, Chief Engineer
Who should attend: Marketers, dealers, property owners, bankers, realtors and ATCs This comprehensive sessions will focus on critical issues for the PRP and Compliance Programs. If you are an ATC contractor, own a tank, deal with tanks, own property where there is or was a tank, or are financing one, then you do not want to miss this important session!
Great Bay Distribution Center - “Dick Bell Community Room”
2750 Eagle Ave N, St. Petersburg, FL 33716
If you are unable to make the meeting in person, on June 13th please use the call - in number below:
Dial 1-712-432-0460 then enter Participant Pass Code: 755206#
Preparing for the Sales Tax Holiday
We are very pleased that our work with the Florida Legislature ultimately included provisions for a Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday during the 2017 session. This sales tax holiday will encourage Floridians to stock up on the supplies they need to be prepared for the hurricane season and other potential disasters.
This holiday is coming up VERY SOON! The bill is currently waiting for Governor Scott’s signature to make it official, but we wanted all of our members to be well aware of the details of the holiday so that you can prepare and make the most of this event in your stores. We have reached out to the Department of Revenue to inquire when we can expect to receive the TIP sheet on this event. In the meantime, here are the details that you may need to get ready.
When is the Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday?
12:01 a.m. on June 2, 2017, through 11:59 p.m. on June 4, 2017
What items fall under the sales tax holiday?
During the period of time listed above, sales tax should not be collected on the following items:
Does everyone who sells these items have to participate?
The tax exemptions do not apply to sales of the above items that take place in theme parks or entertainment complexes, lodging establishments, or airports. Every other retailer must provide the sales tax exemptions on the items above during the designated time period.
When we receive further details from the Department of Revenue, we will send it out immediately. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
AGENDA TOPICS WILL INCLUDE BUT MAY NOT BE LIMITED TO: Lottery Ticket Sales, Lottery Scams, Equipment Training, Product Training, Inventory Control, Loss Prevention and Ticket Security, Contract Compliance, Laws and Rules, Leveraging Relationships, Retailer Support and Resources and Retailer Integrity.
Thu, June 22, 2017
8:30 AM – 12:00 PM EDT
250 Marriott Dr
Powerball Conference Room
Tallahassee, FL 32301
For Immediate Release: May 8, 2017
TALLAHASSEE, FL – As the 2017 Legislative Session comes to a close, three days later than expected, the Florida Retail Federation (FRF) and the Florida Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association (FPMA) is celebrating several major accomplishments for retailers including the passage of a reduction in the business rent tax and 3-day sales tax holidays for back to school and disaster preparedness. FRF also successfully opposed several proposals which would have been harmful to the retail industry, such as allowing prejudgment interest on personal injury awards and weakening criminal penalties on the backs of retailers.
“I am extremely proud of the way our retailers, stakeholders, and association staff worked with the Legislature to accomplish so many of our goals this year,” said FRF’s President and CEO R. Scott Shalley. In all, FRF actively advocated for or against more than 40 pieces of legislation and numerous budget issues. “We continue to prove that our industry remains strong and continues to be a major economic contributor--leading in job growth and many other economic indicators,” added Shalley.
In general business, FRF was successful in opposing burdensome regulations from being passed on to retailers, such as a minimum wage requirement, a measure to increase the number of parking spaces at certain retail establishments, and a measure that would interfere with the relationship between a franchisee and franchisor. FRF also worked to oppose a measure that would allow a utility company to pursue fracking for natural gas in other states and pass 100% of the costs along to consumers. Additionally, FRF was successful in advocating for the passage of a bill that provides greater legal protections to businesses who are subject to ADA lawsuits.
FRF also saw major legislative accomplishments in the areas of identity theft prevention with the approval of a measure to enhance penalties for committing “skimmer” fraud. FRF also played a key role in defeating a measure to weaken criminal penalties for theft. Additionally, a measure to prevent EBT card purchases for candy and soft drinks was defeated due to FRF’s strong opposition. “All of our retailers--from general business, pharmacy, small grocers, and the FPMA-- will benefit from our collective advocacy efforts this session. We look forward to continuing our work, and we are already beginning to gear up for next year,” concluded CEO Shalley.
ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
Founded in 1937, the Florida Retail Federation is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year as the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide three out of every four jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year. In fact, more than three out of four of Florida’s budget dollars come from retail-related activity.
With credit-card skimming thieves eluding law enforcement, state lawmakers are targeting the devices themselves.
Two bills before the Florida Legislature this session, SB 766 and HB 343, would make it a third-degree felony to possess or sell credit-card skimming devices in Florida.
“These devices are designed to specifically collect and steal consumer data,” said the sponsor of the Senate bill, state Sen. Jose Rodriguez, D-Miami. “There is no other place in the market where you need a device like this.”
Rodriguez said Thursday much of the work behind the legislation was focused on tightening the definition of the skimmer itself so it would not impede the needs of retailers and anyone else involved in credit-card transactions.
“There are two parts to this legislation,” he said. “Part of it is to precisely and better define what is legal and what is illegal. The other part is criminalizing the sale of and use. There is no legitimate need for these skimming devices.”
He added that cracking down on the installing and use of the skimmers to steal credit-card information from gasoline pump machines and ATMs, which is illegal, is difficult because police have to catch the thieves in the act.
By making the possession and sale of the devices illegal, he said police would have a more effective tool. Both the Senate and House versions have one more committee hurdles to clear, perhaps as soon as next week, before they can make it to floor votes in each chamber.
The 2017 Florida legislative session marks the second year in a row that lawmakers have sought legislation to attack credit-card skimming.
Just this past spring, Gov. Rick Scott signed into law a bill designed to protect consumers from skimmers at gas station pumps.
That legislation, sponsored by State Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, and Rep. Dana Young, R-Tampa, required gas stations to have security devices on pumps to combat skimmers and it toughened penalties for credit-card fraud.
It was also supported by Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, whose agency has largely led the effort to crack down on skimmers.
James Miller of the Florida Retail Federation and the Florida Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association said the organizations “fully support any legislation that cracks down on gas-pump skimming devices, punishes those caught using them, and protects Floridians and visitors.”
Miller said card skimming is a nationwide problem, but Florida, with the third-largest population and more than 100 million tourists, and more than 10,000 convenience stores statewide, presents significantly more opportunities for skimming devices to be used.
He said the organization seeks other ways to combat skimming fraud. This includes training sessions for convenience store owners and their staff year round throughout the state to help them identify potential scams, and arm their employees with knowledge and steps they can take to protect their store, their merchandise and their customers.
They also regularly communicate with local, state and federal law enforcement “on tips and identifying new technology or new ways that thieves are using skimmers,” he added.
Jeff Lenard, the vice president for Strategic Industry Initiatives at the National Association of Convenience Stores in Alexandria, Va., said the organization focuses on federal issues so it has not specifically followed the new Florida legislation.
However, he pointed out skimming tends to a be a problem because criminal groups come to an area and “work it” until they move on to another location. Florida, he said, is one of the areas that has more problems, perhaps because there is more of a transient population and newer neighborhoods.
How to avoid falling victim to a skimmer, and what to do if you do
If you think your credit card number might have been stolen or otherwise compromised, report it to your credit card company.
If you believe you might have found a skimmer, contact the gas station manager, local law enforcement or the department’s consumer protection and information hotline at 800-435-7352.
mypalmbeachpost | Antonio Fins and Susan Salisbury
It was a record-breaking year for in-store convenience store sales, which hit $233bn in calendar year 2016, data from the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) 2016 indicates. Among the top performers were non-alcoholic beverages and sweet and salty snacks. read more
The Florida Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association cares about the success of our members and their families. For 36 years, we have granted academic scholarships exclusively to FPMA member company owners, employees and their children to attend college and become successors of the family business or entrepreneurs of their own.
If you fall into this close-knit community and can show achievement in the classroom with a GPA of 3.5 or higher, you are at a great advantage! While most public and private scholarship dollars are open to thousands of eligible high school and college students, our support stays within the Florida Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store family. We are excited to announce we are accepting Scholarship applications now through May 5, 2017.
FPMA Scholarship Requirements:
To be eligible to receive an FPMA Scholarship, an applicant must be a Florida resident meeting one of following criteria below and enroll in a minimum course load of 12 hours.
Two (2) FPMA Scholarships will be awarded on the morning of the 2017 Sunshine EXPO, Sunday July, 23rd at Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee, FL. Winners will be contacted on May 17th by Scholarship Committee Chair, Marc Gomes. The recipients’ hotel accommodations are taken care of by FPMA for the night prior to the award presentation.
Best of luck and begin the application process by clicking here.
Organized retail crime (ORC)—defined as professional shoplifting by organized crime rings—is growing, with 83% of 59 merchants surveyed reporting an increase in the past year, according the National Retail Federation’s “12th annual ORC study,” conducted July 20-Aug. 19, 2016.
Sean Sportun, ICPS manager, security & loss prevention for Mac’s Convenience Stores in Canada, noted ORC is an evolving issue for the c-store industry.
While ORC usually targets big box chains with high volume items “what most fail to realize is the c-store/gas industry are the initial target for these groups when it comes to fraud payment cards and robberies,” Sportun said. “C-store retailers must ensure they have a training program in place and that it is current—this will enable employees to combat these crimes and remain safe if they encounter an incident.”
Mac’s is renowned for fighting crime, from inviting communities to take ownership of neighborhood convenience stores by participating in painting a store mural to posting images of thieves to Mac’s Crime Stoppers social media pages, so members of the community can identify them for a reward.
“Mac’s is now being studied by Harvard University on the crime prevention program’s effectiveness in reducing incidents of crime,” Sportun said. The Harvard Business Study should be available this summer.
Mac’s is also using a Tobacco Tracker program to monitor stolen tobacco cartons—a “huge success,” both in the recovery of assets and in the apprehensions of suspects. Security expert Chris McGoey, president of McGoey Security Consulting, said while ORC is an age-old issue, the label is often overused, especially in relation to convenience stores.
“What’s happening (at c-stores) is plain old shoplifting. It’s the same old story: if you have one person on duty and that person is overworked, they’re not going to be able to pay attention to potential shoplifters,” he said.
McGoey said he sees theft overall trending upward. There are more items today, more inventory issues to contend with and products are more expensive—which means theft dollar totals are higher—all contributing factors.
C-stores must also contend with employee theft. The “28th Annual Retail Theft Survey” conducted June 2016 by loss prevention consulting firm Jack L. Hayes International, found one out of every 38 employees was apprehended for theft from their employer in 2015. The survey was based on approximately 3 million employees.
“The convenience industry is hit particularly hard with employee theft because of the nature of a c-store. They’re designed to be operated by one person often times without supervision,” McGoey said.
Mac’s is using technology to help matters.
“The loss prevention department implemented a variety of preventative measures to identify this type of crime, but our most effective initiative has been the introduction of our 24/7 monitoring room, which has the ability to remote access into stores through the DVR system,” Sportun said.
While ongoing advancements in video surveillance ability and quality continue to improve, McGoey warned some retailers invest too much capital in technology and then fail to use it, thinking just having the technology is a deterrent. McGoey said sticking to the basics of counting inventory, implementing cash controls, hiring and training well and monitoring customers are crucial in preventing theft. (read more)
Click this video and see what you missed from this year’s Retail Days. FRF Chair Dan Doyle and a host of attendees give you the inside scoop on what took place at this year’s event. If you weren’t able to join us this year, start making plans to attend next year’s Retail Days taking place January 2018!