Fast food Bill
August 20, 2006 6:04 PM   Subscribe

Today I went out for some fast food and paid with my credit card (Visa). Later, I realized that the cashier didn't have me sign the reciept or anything. So, I'm wondering what will happen with the bill since it didnt get signed. Will it still be processed as usual?
posted by jplank to Work & Money (19 answers total)
At local diners I don't need to sign for bills under $10 or $15. I'm not sure if this is a national or local thing.
posted by null terminated at 6:06 PM on August 20, 2006

Many merchants no longer require a signature for small purchases. This seems to be especially true for restaurants.

posted by Hlewagast at 6:07 PM on August 20, 2006

At CVS, the new rule is no signatures for under $50.
posted by IndigoRain at 6:07 PM on August 20, 2006

I've used my VISA debit card at McDonalds and Wendys and they've never asked for me to enter a PIN number or sign a receipt and they've always been processed.
posted by plokent at 6:10 PM on August 20, 2006

Yeah, many places now only require the signature for purchases of X amount or less. Where X amount turns out to be on they decide upon. Starbucks is the main one I can think of now that does this.
posted by smallerdemon at 6:15 PM on August 20, 2006

My wife, who is sitting across from me as I write this, was once a waitress, and she tells me that in these instances, the transaction is run like any other. Apparently they are able to enter "signature on file" into the credit card doohickey.
posted by 4ster at 6:19 PM on August 20, 2006

As others have said, a lot of places don't require a signature anymore for small pirchases. Panera Bread and CVS are two that come to mind. Given that most cashiers don't even look at the signature, and that orders over the phone don't require a signature, I'm surprised that this didn't start happening sooner.
posted by spira at 7:48 PM on August 20, 2006

No. Small orders do not require signatures. Starbucks would be fucked otherwise. At least down south, where we are addicted to drive thru. (yes, thru)
posted by absalom at 7:50 PM on August 20, 2006

Same thing at Whole Foods in NYC. If I just buy lunch, no signature. If it is a weeks worth of groceries for the family ($150), I do have to sign. Until I figured it out, it simply added to the checkout confusion.
posted by R. Mutt at 8:04 PM on August 20, 2006

Starbucks would be fucked otherwise.

Canadian Starbucks stores do require you to sign. So does Shoppers Drug Mart (about as close to CVS as you can get in Canada), even for $7 purchases. But since Starbucks Canada is technically different, they get to make their own call.
posted by oaf at 8:17 PM on August 20, 2006

X can also vary by location. There's a Kroger's in a suburb here where it's like $25 or $50 ... but at ones closer to the city, X = $0.
posted by pmurray63 at 8:18 PM on August 20, 2006

technically a different company
posted by oaf at 8:18 PM on August 20, 2006

I'm guessing that the signature's purpose is manly to protect them from chargebacks on the transaction, therefore, if the transaction is small, or you're a regular customer, the business may see the risk&cost of chargeback as too small to justify tying up staff to get the signature. (Obviously, online retailers operate quite large transactions without signatures)

Subway restaurants in my area will require a signature, but once you're a regular that the people working there recognise, they'll let it go.
posted by -harlequin- at 8:40 PM on August 20, 2006

mainly = mainly
posted by -harlequin- at 8:41 PM on August 20, 2006

Visa does not require signatures for purchases of $25 or less, as I discovered last summer when I worked at a Quiznos. Imagine my surprise when the receipt printer didn't even leave a signature line on the receipts for Visa purchases of less than that much.
posted by DoctorFedora at 8:45 PM on August 20, 2006

Signatures are inspected only on chargeback so it doesn't matter unless you contest the charge. As others have said, the net cost of getting a signature from everyone is greater than the chargebacks they eat from the 1% or whatever stolen cards are used to buy coffee.

See also the Credit Card Prank.
posted by polyglot at 2:09 AM on August 21, 2006

Companies have been doing this for at least 2 years that I am aware of. I have experienced this everywhere from pharmacies (drive thru and inside), restaurants (mostly fast food, although sit-down places I frequent only require the signature the first time I use that particular credit card there), and even gas stations. Whenever asked, the employees all state that "for purchases under $xx.xx, we do not require signatures."

I do not know if it varies by type of purchase or if they have had your signature on file from a previous purchase changes the amount, but this is definitely common practice now.

I tried Googling it, but I am not sure what exact phrase would be needed to get a valid result from either a credit card company or valid industry analyst.
posted by criticman at 4:28 AM on August 21, 2006

I believe that at Pathmark, you don't need to sign for grocery purchases under $50.
posted by whitebird at 7:24 AM on August 21, 2006

at the Bowling Green Chipotle in Manhattan, I've never had to sign. It's amazing. They swipe your card and the receipt comes out instantaneously. That place is a machine.
posted by ofthestrait at 1:26 PM on August 21, 2006

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