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Excessive debit and credit card charges banned by the government (9 April 2013)

Date: 09/04/2013
Duncan Lewis, Legal News Solicitors, Excessive debit and credit card charges banned by the government

From April 6th the ban on excessive debit and credit card charges have come into effect which means payment surcharges will have to reflect the actual cost to the retailer of processing the card transaction.
As illustration by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), someone spending £100 on a travel ticket could expect to be charged 53 pence extra if using a debit card or £2.10 if using a credit card.
This is good news for travellers when booking flights and holidays, who have in the past been
This spells good news for travellers when booking flights and holidays, who have in the past been spending out huge fees when faced with sneaky surcharges.
Airlines are the worst offenders, with the government reporting back in 2010 that airlines charged passengers up to £350m in card surcharges.
Some charged a fee per passenger, per leg of the journey - despite the fact that they only had to process one transaction, according to Which?
In 2011, Which? launched a "super-complaint" against travel providers and other companies that impose "rip-off" surcharges on customers paying with a debit or credit card.
The watchdog cited the example of Ryanair which reportedly charged £40 for a card payment covering a family of four booking a return flight. This, despite the fact that the company incurs a cost of only 20p for a debit card transaction and no more than 2 per cent of the overall value for a credit card order.
The consumer watchdog asked the Office of Fair Trading to investigate charges that are not revealed until the point of payment and can often be in excess of the cost faced by the retailer processing the transaction.
The OFT upheld the super complaint and, on June 28th 2011, the government promised to implement a ban on excessive card surcharges by the end of 2012.
In a big success for the campaign, the ban on excessive surcharges was officially implemented on April 6th 2013.
Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director, said over 50,000 people supported its campaign to end rip off surcharges and government implementing the ban had been a very pleasing turn of events.
He added that for the ban to be effective there was a need for a tough enforcement regime and companies must play fair and not pass on costs to customers in other ways. The ban would be monitored closely and would encourage people to come out about surcharges they think were excessive.

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