The increasing cost of operating a credit or debit card system has led to many businesses introducing a charge for customers. Typically, businesses will impose the charge for transactions under a certain figure, such as £5.
Under the Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharges) Regulations 2012, the levying of such a surcharge is prohibited where such fees exceed the cost to your business.
The government has published guidance on what will be considered an “excessive fee” – click here for details.
The charges which the government believes businesses are entitled to levy, as set out in the guidance, are:
Indirect costs which cannot be attributable to the use of cards should not be included.
The regulations came into force in relation to all contracts entered into after 6th April 2013. Existing and new micro businesses (those with less than 10 staff) have an exemption until 12th June 2014. However, after 12th June 2014 all businesses will be expected to comply.
Failure to comply with the regulations can lead to an enforcement action including an injunction against the business. It may also lead to a dispute or litigation with your customer who will be able to claim back the charges.
If you are unsure about whether these regulations will cause you a problem contact dispute resolution partner Martin de Ridder on 01543 431 186 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.