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By | John Oates 11th February 2011 12:57

Card surcharges face super-complaint

Come in Ryanair, your time is up

Consumer lobby group Which? is making a so called super-complaint about the extra money charged to consumers who pay by card.

Which? will push the Office of Fair Trading to investigate companies charging far more than they have to pay to process card payments.

Ryanair is infamous for gouging customers in this way. Which? found a family of four buying a return flight from Ryanair would be charged £40 in card fees, even though the cost to Ryanair would be 20 pence for a debit card and two per cent of the value of the transaction if a credit card is used.

Flybe would charge £36, while EasyJet would charge £5.50 for using a debit card and £5.50 plus two per cent of the value of the transaction on a credit card.

The consumer group is concerned that other companies and even public bodies like the DVLA and local councils are starting to stick similar charges on final bills.

Which? will make its complaint next month but in the meantime is collecting signatures in support of the campaign - Which?'s card surcharge campaign page is here.

The group calls for three specific changes: tell punters upfront what they will have to pay, make charges fair and broadly similar to what the retailer has to pay to process the payment; and finally, for debit card charges which are very low, the retailer should absorb the charges rather than charge consumers.

Which?'s powers to take a super-complaint to the OFT were outlined in the 2002 Enterprise Act. Once it receives such a complaint the OFT has 90 days to respond. Its last mega-whinge was in 2007 and related to Scottish legal services. ®

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