The subject of this super-complaint, submitted to the OFT in March 2011, is the practice of applying surcharges on transactions using debit or credit cards - and in some cases other forms of payment - where consumers face no practicable alternative.
This results in distortionary effects on competition, primarily through reducing the clarity of advertised prices. Surcharges are often much greater than the additional costs the retailer would incur. As a result, the surcharge is not paying for the specific payment method but is actually part of the price of the underlying good or service, and so should be incorporated in the headline advertised price.
This super-complaint asked the OFT to take action to ensure consumers can be confident that advertised prices are a true reflection of the price they may pay, regardless of payment method chosen, and, where the complexity of the product offer makes this difficult, any surcharges related to payment method are limited to the reasonable additional costs incurred by the retailer.
See our full report:
See the response to our super-complaint: