Six months after a ban on excessive card payment charges came into force, Which? has discovered that although some companies have lowered their fees, others are still hitting consumers hard.
Following our successful campaign to get the government to ban ‘rip-off’ card payment surcharges, we have been monitoring how well the new rules are working.
We asked consumers to tell us if they felt they had been hit with an unfair surcharge since the ban took effect in April this year.
Excessive travel surcharges
More than 700 people have been in touch through our website and we’ve found that some companies are still charging excessive fees, with the worst offenders in the travel and holiday sector. Of these, we’ve identified several that we believe could be breaking the new rules.
The worst offender was eDreams – we found examples of surcharges of more than 18% for customers paying by credit and even debit cards. We also found EasyBus, Germanwings, Jet2, Monarch and Vueling still charging over the odds with fees ranging from 2.5% to 3.5%.
The ban makes it illegal for companies to charge more than what it costs them to process the payment. Which? believes that this should be no more than 2% for credit cards and a matter of pence for debit cards.
Under the regulations, companies made up of 10 members of staff or less are exempt from the ban until June 2014.
Consumer surcharge complaints
Following complaints from consumers we also contacted EasyJet, First Choice, MyTrainticket and Thomson who have all subsequently agreed to reduce their credit card fees to 2.0%. EasyCar have gone even further and has now abolished all its fees for credit and debit cards.
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: ‘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.’