DEAR SUN SPOTS: I know under Maine law that it’s illegal for merchants to charge fees to pay by credit card. Where can you report a merchant who violates that law?

Also, is it illegal for a municipality to charge a fee for using a credit card?—No name, no town

ANSWER: The law states, “a seller in a sales transaction may not impose a surcharge on a cardholder who elects to use a credit card or debit card in lieu of payment by cash, check or similar means.”

In answer to your first question, this happens sometimes because of the misinformation out there around these types of fees and surcharges. You can report that merchant to the Maine Attorney General’s Office by filling out a form online ( or calling the office at 626-8849.

Usually, all it takes is a phone call from the state office to the merchant and the action is stopped. If it isn’t, the state will take action.

This law does allow retailers to offer a discount to those paying with cash, but it must be posted so that all customers see it.


The answer to your second question: this Maine law has an exception for government entities, like municipalities and state universities so if you’re about to pay for your car registration, for example, bring your checkbook if you don’t want to pay that extra fee.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: For the teacher who wants help learning Portuguese (Jan. 17 Sun Spots), I have been using Duolingo to learn French and I’m sure they have Portuguese also. It’s a free app, but you can also pay and get more features. — No name, no town

ANSWER: These apps have a free trial to test them before paying up. If you’re interested in trying Portuguese or several other languages on Duolingo, go here: (

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I was recently prescribed a chemotherapeutic cream to treat some potentially precancerous lesions. The literature accompanying the medication stated that the medicine should not be disposed of with regular trash. Neither my pharmacy nor the prescribing practice will dispose of the unused portion for me. How should I safely dispose of the remaining medication? — No name, no town

ANSWER: I assume the cream took care of your skin and I’m glad about that. Many Maine communities have drug take-back programs. Some have scheduled dates and will advertise periodic events when you can drop off any medications.

Most police stations, fire stations, municipal buildings and hospitals will accept the medicines at any time and secure them in a lockbox for future safe disposal. Give your local station or town office a call and ask for assistance.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I have plastic headbands that can be covered with fabric. I bought them on Amazon and started making them then lost interest. They are free for gals who want to try making them. I also purchased some all made and they may have those also. My phone number is 375-3439. I enjoy your daily news! — Reta, Sabattus

ANSWER: Those headbands are making a comeback and I love the idea of covering them with fabric to match outfits, and it makes them more comfortable, too. It sounds like the perfect crafting opportunity for the right person.

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