New laws about to be unveiled today will offer some relief to credit card users. Hidden credit card fees cost customers more than £300 million a year for everything from plane flights to cinema tickets. At the moment, debit card companies can’t put surcharges on debit cards, and with the new plan that Chancellor George Osborne is drawing up, this will extend to all cards.
Earlier this year, a damning report was issued by the Office of Fair Trading that pointed to the widespread problem of credit card scams. The report was written following a campaign by the consumer rights group Which? to look into more than 50,000 complaints about rip-off card deals.
As a result, starting in mid-2014, an EU Consumer Rights Directive will ban businesses from putting above-cost surcharges on any form of payment. To get these practices in place even sooner, Treasury Minister Mark Hoban will be announcing a consultation to ban the practice by the end of 2012.
As Mr. Hoban, the Financial Secretary in the Treasury said,
‘We want consumers to be able to shop around. They have a right to understand the charges they may incur upfront and not be hit through a hidden last-minute payment surcharge. We’re leading the way in Europe by stopping this practice. The Government remains committed to helping consumers get a good deal in these difficult times.”