A member destination has recently brought to our attention a potential issue regarding the charging of credit card fees. In 2012 the practice of charging more than the actual credit card transaction charges were outlawed, previously, often a set sum of say a £2.50. credit card fee per transaction. In January 2018 consumer protection was further enhanced by banning the practice of charging, as an additional item, the actual credit card or other electronic payment fees (PayPal etc.), typically in the order of 2.5% of the total sale price.
In essences this means that cost has to be absorbed by the seller, or added into the upfront cost of the product, just as all other costs of providing any goods and service are. Alternatively where the business model doesn’t allow this, a say selling a third-party’s product, an administrative charge can be added, provided that charge is shown or promoted up front. Hence, some well-known third party delivery services now charging a 50p service charge as opposed to a 50p credit card fee as they previously did.
The legislation is enforced by local trading standards and, like all similar legislation enforcement, it will be driven largely by increased consumer awareness and the weight of any consumer complaint, particularly if and when focused on one a particular business or event.
The issue raised with us is that it would appear that not all destinations and/or their businesses and event organisers in particular are fully aware of the changes. Were the events are being organised, facilitated or sponsored by the local authority, a consumer challenge made to the local authority’s trading standards department might at the very least be a tad embarrassing ! You and your business may well be up to speed on this but if in doubt it is worth checking before the prices of next year’s events and activities are agreed and, more immediately, before any of them go to print.
The Westminster Government’s press release is at:
The full UK Government’s guidance on the consumer rights (payment surcharges) regulation 2012 updated to include the 2118 amendments is at:
A useful shorter guide from Business Companion is at: