Cashiers do not have to accept $2, or any, bill
I recently went to the Wedding Cafe in Manoa Marketplace and tried to pay with a $2 bill. But was told that they do not accept $2 bills, even though I pointed out that it was "legal tender." Don't the words "This note is legal tender for all debts public and private" mean anything? Can I refuse change from establishments if the bills are dirty or torn or in any way unsatisfactory to me?
Answer: Tanna Dang, owner of the Wedding Cafe, was surprised to hear that the currency was not accepted.
She apologized for any misunderstanding and said she saw no reason not to accept a $2 bill. She speculated that because it is not a commonly used bill, employees might have thought it was counterfeit or were just unfamiliar with it.
However, the cafe legally can refuse to accept the currency. Businesses are not bound to accept cash or coins from any customer, and can stipulate restrictions, such as refusing to take bills larger than $20.
As we explained previously (Jan. 21, 2004), federal law does NOT mandate that "a private business, a person or an organization must accept currency or coins as payment for goods and/or services." According to the U.S. Treasury, "Private businesses are free to develop their own policies on whether or not to accept cash unless there is a state law which says otherwise."
There is no such state law.
There also is no law regarding your individual right to refuse to accept change that is unsatisfactory to you. But you always have the right to take your business elsewhere if customer service is unacceptable.
Q: What year will the new Hawaiian quarter begin circulating? Has the design been decided on? Where can we purchase those coins?
A: The Hawaiian Quarter is scheduled to be available in fall 2008, the last in the series of 50 state quarters.
The first five quarters -- Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia and Connecticut -- were issued in 1999. The last five next year will be Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska and Hawaii, in that order.
The state quarters, along with regular coins, are being released in general circulation by the Federal Reserve.
The Reserve says the typical way to get them is through general commercial transaction. However, check your bank to see if it has placed any special order, or call the U.S. Mint, (800) 872-6468, to order special sets.
For more information, check www.usmint.gov.
The design for the quarter was announced in April by Gov. Linda Lingle, based on the recommendation of the Hawaii Commemorative Quarter Advisory Commission and a public online poll.
The "Hawai'i, the Island State" design depicts King Kamehameha I on the right extending a hand toward the eight main Hawaiian islands. The state motto, "Ua mau ke ea o ka 'aina i ka pono" ("The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness") is on the lower left of the coin. On top it says "Hawai'i" and "1959" (statehood year). "E Pluribus Unum" ("Out of many, one") is at the bottom.
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