Holidaymakers still face high charges for paying by card – despite new rules designed to tackle “excessive” fees, according to a report today.
Consumer group Which? found evidence of card charges well in excess of the 2% level considered fair.
The Office of Fair Trading said in April someone spending £100 on a travel ticket should expect to be charged 53p extra if using a debit card, or £2.10 if using a credit card. This is equal to no more than 2.1%.
But Which? said easyBus charged 3.5% to use a credit card and eDreams increased the cost of a £93.21 flight from London to Rome by £17.01 on a Visa debit card – equal to 18.25% more, the Daily Telegraph reported.
However, First Choice and Thomson cut credit card fees from 2.5% to 2% on October 1, while easyJet is set to make an identical move on October 17.
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd told the newspaper: “It’s disappointing that six months after the government banned rip-off surcharges, consumers are still being hit with high fees simply for paying with a card.
“While some companies have reduced their surcharges, there should be a crackdown on rogue companies who continue to flout the ban. We’ll be passing on our findings to Trading Standards and asking them to enforce the rules.”
Consumer Minister Jo Swinson said: “We know it can often be a nasty surprise when consumers see an advertised price and then have an excessive payment surcharge added at the end. This is why we brought in measures – a year earlier than required by European law – to make sure that UK consumers benefit from clearer and fairer prices.
“The prices that businesses charge should always be transparent. They shouldn’t keep extracting more money from excessive administration or booking charges from customers with each transaction.
“Enforcers such as Trading Standards, the Office of Fair Trading and the Civil Aviation Authority have the power to seek civil injunctions against traders who break the rules on excessive payment surcharges. I will be writing to all the enforcement agencies about their obligations.”
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