WestCoast wrote:If the merchant posted a sign that said "ID Required" or similar I wouldn't shop there. Unfortunately, they have chosen to ambush their customers at the register or hotel check in desk instead of honestly making the customer aware. This is deceptive and dishonest.
In most states a hotel is required by statute to check the ID of every guest. Not all do but they are supposed to. So why should they need a sign to inform you that they are complying with the law? How is that deceptive or dishonest?
WestCoast wrote:Remember, the merchant agreement states quite clearly that the merchant will not require any ID when accepting a credit card. . .
No, actually it does not. The merchant agreement with visa and mastercard says a merchant cannot require ID AS A CONDITION OF ACCEEPTANCE OF A SPECIFIC BRAND OF CARD over other methods of payment. If a merchant routinely requires ID for all purchases then the clause does not apply (a liquor store or firearms dealer for example) Amex does not make that limitation. I do not believe the limitation applies to debit cards either nor does it apply to CNP or MOTO transactions or for unsigned cards. And, as we've heard above, that clause in the merchant agreement is void where local regulations override it.
Actually, I just checked with Visa. I was told that no part of the merchant agreement should be construed as discouraging a merchant from asking for ID if there is any suspicion. They specifically recommend asking for ID in a long list of circumstances and note that refusal to provide ID is suspicious behavior. A merchant simply cannot tell customers that they require ID for Visa cards. If the merchant always requires ID or if, in a specific transaction, the merchant is suspicious for any reason, it is permissible to ask for ID. If the customer refuses there is a way to communicate that refusal to Visa immediately.
There are also a number of specific customer behaviors that are very common and you have probably all done them that, according to Visa, require the merchant to ask for ID. Blocking the cashier's view of the paper you sign or signing it outside the view of the cashier are two examples. When is the last time you signed a restaurant bill in view of the server?