The Government is today announcing that it will take action to tackle excessive card surcharges that are opaque, misleading and prevent consumers getting a good deal. Following the Office of Fair Trading’s recommendations, the Government will:
• Ban excessive surcharges on all forms of payment, not just debit cards;
• Extend the ban across most retail sectors, not just transport; and
• Become the first European country to act by implementing forthcoming European legislation early to ban this practice before the end of 2012.
Businesses will not be able to load on excessive payment surcharges. But they will be able to add a small charge to cover their actual costs for using any particular form of payment
The Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mark Hoban, said:
“We want consumers to be able to shop around. They have a right to understand the charges they may incur up front and not be hit through a hidden last minute payment surcharge. We’re leading the way in Europe by stopping this practice. The Government remains committed to helping consumers get a good deal in these difficult times.”
The Consumer Minister, Edward Davey, said:
“We want to make sure that consumers paying by card do not have to pay the excessively high surcharges being imposed on them by some airlines and other businesses. That is why we will consult on early implementation of the Consumer Rights Directive provision to protect consumers from excessively high credit and debit card charges.”
To take this forward, the Government will publish a consultation in the New Year setting out next steps.