Did you actually read that story?
Yes, so let me explain:
Bottom line (and there are exceptions), merchants aren't on the hook if it's a face-to-face transaction.
Nope! Read on to see why:
Usually, however, it is the banks that get hurt the most.
And how do they get hurt? In that quote, the word "banks" links to a BusinessWeek article that explains:
issuing banks are shifting the expense of fraudulent face-to-face transactions to retailers. One reason: complaints that the buyer's signature didn't match the one on the card. These "charge-backs" drive up retailers' costs, which are ultimately passed along to the consumer, says Mallory Duncan, the NRF's general counsel.
So the law says the credit card holder isn't liable. The CC company says they aren't liable, the bank is. But since the retailer is responsible for verifying the signature, they were at fault. Notice that it specifically says that in face-to-face transactions the retailer is responsible.
I'm unclear why the BusinessWeek article says "shifting" since this was the way things were back in 1996 when I worked retail. This isn't new.
I have 2 stories on this: One: in the brief time I worker retail I worked at a store that actually checked this. Your photo ID + name on card + signature had to match. We even turned away corporate customers making big purchases because sometimes the boss would give an employee their Amex business card, but we wouldn't let them make the purchase. I know the store manager got chewed-out by some business people for enforcing it and they always stood their ground.
The other example was when I was at a retailer and I got asked for me photo ID. I thanked the manager in person for having the employee check, but was told that the employee would now get in trouble because they aren't allowed to ask!