Debit/Credit Card Surcharges Out of Control

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In recent weeks we have reported that consumer advocate groups are up in arms over the amount of surcharges being added to travel bookings and the leader in the fight against exorbitant surcharges is Which? that has launched a super complaint with the Office of Fair Trading.

According to their complaint, UK consumers are paying approximately £265,000 each and every day on booking surcharges for plane tickets, even after they recommended that government ban this practice. In the complaint, several market features are called to task because of the way in which they are counterproductive to consumers’ best interests.

This super complaint is not new as it was way back in March that the advocate group asked the OFT to begin an investigation into these excessively high surcharges that travellers are required to pay when using debit or credit cards. These surcharges are not being added to cash bookings and are only adding to an already staggering credit card debt that faces consumers in the UK.

Then in June the Office of Fair Trading, after having investigated the complaint, sent their recommendation that this type of surcharge should be banned. It was their finding that it would not take long and drawn out government intervention as a simple amendment to an existing regulation would suffice.

Here it is months later and consumers are still footing these high surcharges. The director of Which? Richard Lloyd told reporters that it is time for government to step in and put a stop to this once and for all. Since surcharges are specific to the airline, there is no way for a consumer to shop for a good price because they are not quoted in the price at the beginning.

A Treasury spokesman did come forward to say that government is working with OFT to put an end to this practice but months down the road consumers have seen no evidence of this collaboration.

Author: Sam Allcock
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