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In brief: Court lets retailers add credit card surcharge

A recent federal lawsuit now allows some retailers to add a surcharge to purchases made by credit card.

It’s not certain many retailers will do so, said Craig Shearman, a spokesman with the National Retail Federation.

The class-action lawsuit was initiated to challenge high “swipe” fees charged by credit card companies to merchants. The preliminary court ruling last year included the option of retailers adding surcharges, but it could be reversed, Shearman said.

The new optional charges must be exactly the amount a retailer pays in swipe fees, up to 4 percent of the purchase price. If a retailer decides to levy the charge, it must be disclosed to the consumer at the point of sale.

In addition, the surcharge option is not allowed in 10 states that prohibit credit card surcharges. The ruling said any retailer doing business in any of those states can’t add surcharges in the other 40 states. As a result, nearly every large national retailer will not participate, Shearman said.

No Spokane retailer contacted by The Spokesman-Review plans to levy the surcharge.

Hostess set to announce top Twinkie bidders

NEW YORK – The indestructible Twinkie appears to be one step closer to a comeback.

Hostess Brands is close to announcing that it has picked two investment firms – C. Dean Metropoulos & Co. and Apollo Global Management – as the lead bidders for its Twinkies and other snack cakes, according to a source close to the situation who was not authorized to comment publicly on the talks.

The joint “stalking horse” bid would set the floor for an auction process that lets competitors make better offers. A judge would have to approve any final sale.

Phoenix leads nation in home price increase

WASHINGTON – U.S. home prices accelerated in November compared with a year ago, pushed higher by rising sales and a tighter supply of available homes.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 5.5 percent in November compared with the same month a year ago. That’s the largest year-over-year gain in six years.

The largest gain was in Phoenix, where prices jumped nearly 23 percent.

New York was the only city to report a drop from a year ago.

CUPERTINO, Calif. – Apple says it will sell an iPad with more memory than the current models available.

Apple Inc. said Tuesday that the new, full-size model comes with 128 gigabytes of memory, up from 64 gigabytes. It will remain a fourth-generation iPad, which went on sale in November.

The new iPad will go on sale on Feb. 5 for $799 for a Wi-Fi model and $929 with cellular data access as well.