NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – More North Texas businesses are charging customers additional fees tied to COVID-19.
Nail salons, dental offices and auto mechanics are starting to add these surcharges, which can cover everything from cleaning expenses to personal protective equipment or PPE.
Jerrin Jackson said when she scheduled a dental appointment at Woodcreek Dental Care earlier this month, she was informed she would need to pay $10 to cover PPE.
“I thought at first it was a fee for myself, but then I found out the fee was for PPE equipment for the office,” said Jackson. “I understand the need for protection, but I don’t think that’s something the consumer should be responsible for.”
But with many establishments struggling to survive, some professionals said the charge is a small price to pay to ensure everyone’s safety and keep business afloat.
Janessa Bock, the president-elect of the Texas Dental Hygienists’ Association, said while her own office does not charge extra for their PPE, she understands why other practices might.
“This mask alone is $10 by itself,” said Bock, holding up a professional-grade face mask. “And when you’re trying to provide the highest level of care, you want to make sure you can afford it so patients aren’t at risk and the provider isn’t at risk.”
COVID-19 fees extend beyond dental offices.
After a crash, Jaci Hynes brought her car to Joe Hudson Collision Center in Carrollton.
The bill included a $15 fee for “COVID-19 disinfection safety measures.”
While insurance covered the claim, Hynes said she still would have been happy to pay the surcharge.
“I think we’re all having to discover how to be more flexible during this time,” Hynes said. “They were taking a lot of precautions when I dropped my car off. I think it’s a good thing for them to be taking care of my car and taking care of their staff as well.”
Instead of adding fees, other businesses are simply raising prices.
In a Facebook post, Nails & Beyond in Fort Worth told customers to expect a $3 to $5 increase for sanitation and supplies.
Jackson said she knows businesses are hurting. But she questions why customers should cover the cost.
“As far as providing equipment for a business who’s taken a loss, we’ve all taken a loss,” Jackson said. “To me, it’s a level of prinicple.”
Customers who are concerned about additional fees should contact a business ahead of time, then request an itemized receipt after the purchase has been made.
Neither Woodcreek Dental Care nor Joe Hudson’s Collision Centers responded to requests for comment by deadline.