A Rally against High Credit and Debit Card Surcharges

Published on 1 January 1970 by Raffick Marday

A super-complaint will be launched against the high surcharges debit and credit card customers pay when using them to make purchases with certain companies.

The plan by Which? is to ask the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to investigate card surcharges which are not always obvious before payment, and sometimes sprung on the customer at point of payment.

They state these surcharges can often be far higher than the cost to the retailer for the process of the transaction.

“Companies shouldn’t be using card processing costs as an excuse for boosting their profits,” said Peter Vicary-Smith, Which? chief executive.

According to Which? research, low-cost airlines are among the worst offenders, with some charging a fee per passenger, and per leg of the journey, even though the airline only has to process one transaction.

Cinemas, hotels, and even some Local Authorities were also shown to have taken up this practice of charging the consumer more than it costs for them.

Support for the Campaign

Other agencies and charities have expressed their support of the campaign, including the UK Cards Association who called for Government action to curb this excess surcharging before the last election.

“It is high time customers are given a voice where the true cost of what they are buying is made clear to them,” added Melanie Johnson, UK Cards Association chair.

The complaint will be submitted to the OFT, along with consumer support of the campaign, at the end of March.

“We hope the Which? super-complaint forces the OFT to take further action against companies padding their profits with unfair excess charges,” commented Prashant Vaze, Consumer Focus, fair markets head, in response to the complaint.

“For far too long firms have made a quick buck through confusing and unfair card charges, which bear no relationship to the costs levied by payment agencies.”

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