x
Beta Member

POS Registration Fee: Have to pay County to have our Square Equipment?

Hello Square Community!

We wanted to ask if anyone has had to pay their county (or any other regional government, whether it be city or state) in order to have a POS System in their place of business?

We operate in the San Diego County, and we recently had a visit from the Department of Agriculture, Weights, & Measures saying that our Square Register had to be registered with the county in order for it to operate in our store.

 

This is pulled directly from their webpage:

"Scales and meters used commercially must be inspected and registered before being placed in service.

Retail establishments that use point-of-sale (POS) systems, as defined by California law, must be registered and are routinely tested for pricing accuracy.

Registration fees offset the cost of inspection and testing to ensure commercial devices are in compliance and that retailers honor the lowest posted price."

 

And this is pulled from their Business Brochure:

"Point of Sale (POS) Systems County ordinance requires the annual registration of retail POS Systems as defined by California law before being used by a retail establishment.

POS systems include any computer or electronic system such as, but not limited to:

  • Universal Product Code Scanners (UPC)
  • Price Lookup Codes (PLU)
  • Stock-Keeping Units (SKU)
  • Other electronic price lookup systems that determine the price of the item being purchased by a consumer

POS systems used for retail customers must include a customer price display. Customers must be able to clearly see the price of each item as it is entered in the register."

 

We started and registered our business in 2006, and from the research we've been doing, this Registration Fee became effective in 2011.

We used traditional registers for the longest time before using a Square Register, so we had never heard of this fee up until now.

 

The inspector said the only way to not pay the fee would be to enter item prices manually (no scanning codes or inventory tracking involved), and have merchandise properly labeled with their prices.

 

Has anyone else experienced this?

By their guidelines, most of the products offered by Square would have to be registered and fee'd (at least in the San Diego County).

 

Any help, info, or personal experience would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you!

 

-Jose S.

2,469 Views
Message 1 of 9
Report
8 REPLIES 8
Super Seller

@cscstore ;

I am sorry to hear of this!!  Last year we had a visit by our department of weights and measures by accident.  They were looking for another store and came in our building asking directions and saw our scale for our fudge.  Now since we sell our fudge by  weight we need this added cost but not for us as a retail store or to track inventory and to monitor price accuracy.  All our scales were with in specifications, and then even checked our shipping scale.  The other thing I saw that you mentioned was a screen for customers to see the price when entered.  Using the Square Stand we do not have a screen for our customers to see as a price is entered.  They only see the screen at the end of the transaction when signing.  My store is in Pennsylvania.

This from what you are saying is only a County fee and sounds like a way for the county to hit businesses harder with more fees to help off set the counties spending. 

Keith
Owner
Pocono Candle

Mark as Best Answer if this Helped you solve an issue or give it a thumbs up if you like the answer.
Square Support Number 855-700-6000.
Make Sure App and OS is up to date on your Device.
2,415 Views
Message 2 of 9
Report
Beta Member

It might not be a requirement to have that customer-facing screen, but just an FYI, the Square Register has a second screen, or you can use a Square Terminal as a second screen and as a chip/swipe/tap reader, a bit expensive, but you can go that route if you wanted.

Orlando Perrone
Owner
Perrone Technologies: The Computer Shop
www.perronetech.net
2,317 Views
Message 3 of 9
Report
Beta Member

Hey Orlando!

The requirement for a 2nd display will differ by state and county laws. The San Diego County inspector said it was a requirement in order to use the equipment within the county.
We have Square Registers, so the customer display is not an issue for us.


We would, however, find it frustrating if we were a new business just starting out. The county would require someone using a phone, and a Square Magstripe Reader to purchase a customer display or more expensive equipment. And once they have them purchase the display, they would then charge them a yearly equipment registration fee for using their phone.

 

We just wanted to make this post for other people starting out or have experience using Square Equipment (or any other brand of POS equipment) to be aware of their local laws when it comes to running their business and potential expenses.

2,264 Views
Message 4 of 9
Report
Beta Member

Hey Keith!

Thanks for the reply. Our team has been discussing the issue since the inspector came along, and it does just feels like a way for the county to make more money off of businesses' equipment within their jurisdiction.

 

We can see the benefit of inspecting scales measuring weights, but it seems odd charging retail businesses, selling physical goods that are not weighted, a yearly equipment registration to make sure that their POS systems are reflecting proper pricing.

 

We want our business to run as smooth as possible and customer complaints are the last thing we want. So if our equipment isn't working properly, we would simply switch to a new system.

 

Bad business is bad business, and an equipment registration fee is not going to stop a bad business from not honoring prices or intentionally mislabeling prices.

2,266 Views
Message 5 of 9
Report
Beta Member

Wow. I found the letter with the fees. That is insane. 1 to 3 stations are $149.99/year and if you are 30 days or more late, it is 50% of that added on top. So 31 days late means $224.99.

I can see requiring someone who uses a scale to get inspected because you want to be sure the scale is accurate and the shop isn't ripping customers off. Even if by a few cents to $1 that adds up over time.

Also if you have a scale it's $100 per location and depending on your scale it can be as low as $4 or as much as $250 per device and each device also has an admin fee which is as low as $2.00 or as high as $16.00.

Why must businesses that provide taxes, and jobs, and stimulate the local economy always take such hits?

Orlando Perrone
Owner
Perrone Technologies: The Computer Shop
www.perronetech.net
2,181 Views
Message 6 of 9
Report
Super Seller

@PerroneTech ;

These added fees and higher wages and competition from people flipping items on Amazon for small margins is why small retail shops might be closing due to Less overhead costs of not having a physical location.   

Keith
Owner
Pocono Candle

Mark as Best Answer if this Helped you solve an issue or give it a thumbs up if you like the answer.
Square Support Number 855-700-6000.
Make Sure App and OS is up to date on your Device.
2,143 Views
Message 7 of 9
Report
Beta Member

It is a hefty fee, and it's unfortunate that smaller businesses have to pay a price for it.

 

When we spoke to the San Diego County Inspector, they mentioned that we could avoid paying the fee, but only if we switched to a traditional cash register while having everything in our store be properly labeled.

 

We could switch to using only the Custom Amount option on our Square Register in order to not switch machines. But we told the Inspector that if we do that, all of our work involving faster checkouts for customers and tracking inventory would negatively effect the way we run our business.

 

They seemed stumped and sympathetic, but at the end of the day they couldn't do much besides deliver the news.

2,100 Views
Message 8 of 9
Report
Beta Member

Hi Cscstore,

 

We have not run into your issue "yet" however, we are seeing more ways to be taxed - in addition to business licenses (state and town), we have to deal with paper bag fees as plastic has been banned, collect and report sales tax for any location we ship to via online sales and now there's a new shipping tax or retail delivery fee regardless of the method used for deliveries- bottom line, we discontinued our online sales, will no longer ship items for in store purchases and will no longer provide bags for small item purchases.   The extra bookkeeping required was just a bit too much for our small shop.

 

jk

2,366 Views
Message 9 of 9
Report