Tag Archives | credit card surcharges

“Unacceptable” Ryanair credit card charges – more complaints

I received this e-mail from an irate Ryanair customer:

Today I was booking a flight from Carcassone in France to Shannon in Ireland with Ryanair. I booked a return flight and I am disgusted with the so card credit card processing fee. For this I was charged 10 Euros. That is 5 Euros for each leg of my trip, even though I booked a return ticket which was done in only 1 transaction. This is purley profitering by Ryanair as the bank fees they have to pay for credit cards is nowhere near this. Had I booked another person on that same trip I would have had to pay another 10 Euros, making the total 20 Euros for just 1 transaction.

This is not acceptable behaviour by Ryanair and I want to know what is being done about it and what I can do about it. The transaction fee should only be the amount that the bank actually charges. The airline should not be allowed to profit over this and get away with charging double for one transaction.

Unfortunately, with regards to the query above, as long as Ryanair inform you prior to charging you this credit card processing fee that it is going to be charged, and how much the charge is going to be, then the are fulfilling their obligations to consumers.

There is some European legislation in the pipeline that has been written into Irish law that would prevent credit card surcharges, but it wasn’t actually enacted by the then Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Micheal Martin TD. The current Minister is Mary Coughlan TD.

In the past, I have checked Irish legislation to see if it precludes, in the same way as UK legislation, the profiting from the application of extra fees and charges. As you point out, businesses may not profit from passing on fees and charges to consumers, but I have been unable to find specific Irish legislation that prevents this.

So, our Government could actually do something about these credit card surcharges, but chickened out the first time the issue came up, and given everything going on at the moment, they’re unlikely to see this as a priority.

Don’t forget though, there is a way – if you’re careful – where you can get around the Ryanair credit card charges – click here to read more.

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Nugget of information from the European Consumer Centre

I’ve written in the past how it’s worthwhile signing up for the Eurpoean Consumer Centre monthly newsletter – go here to sign up.

This month had a little nugget of information that I wasn’t aware of but is definitely something to remember:

I have a subscription to satellite television and have just received a letter from my supplier informing me that I am now being charged extra for paying each monthly bill by credit card rather than by direct debit. Is this illegal?

Sections 48 and 49 of the Consumer Protection Bill (enacted on 1st May 2007) were introduced in order to ban traders from levying extra charges on consumers who chose one method of payment in preference to another, when those methods of payment are accepted by the trader. These measures were introduced as a result of controversy over the decision by NTL to impose a €2 per bill charge on customers who do not pay by direct debit. However, when the Act entered into force, Sections 48 and 49 were not commenced and, as a result, this practice is still possible.

This is typical of how our current Fianna Fail government operates. They’ll do something in the name of addressing a public controversy to be able to say that they’ve done it-  like introducing this legislation – and then when everyone forgets about the issue thinking that it’s been fixed, the follow through is actually forgotten and things carry on as before. A similar thing happened when there was legislation proposed to get rid of credit card surcharges.

On the positive side here, the recent entrants to the electricity market have shown how this can be handled differently, and better in my view.

Airtricity and Bord Gais Energy have provided discounts to people who pay in the way that they want (direct debit) rather than doing the NTL thing of penalising those who don’t.

Obviously the more cynical amongst us might say that the extra cost is already factored into the offered price before the discount is offered, but lets just be happy with what their trying to do.

I wonder when, or if, this legislation above will acutally be signed into law though?

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Are credit card surcharges to be applied in regular shops now?

I received this e-mail a couple of weeks ago, but only got around to answering it at the weekend. Its interesting as it could be a sign of what restaurants and retailers in general might start doing to boost their incomes to make up for their drop in sales.

I was in a coffee shop yesterday and they had a sign on the till explaining that they charge 30c on credit and Laser card transactions due to the administration costs to them. Is this even legal?

I suppose what we’re seeing here is the the TicketMaster or Ryanair online credit card surcharge being brought into the food services sector.

That in itself is a little worrying, especially if it catches on across the wider retail sector. And given the drop in sales, it might be a way for them to bump their income a bit more.

I don’t think that there are any legal issues in this as long as you’re informed about the charge up front. I know that there was talk from Michael Martin when he was minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment about banning credit card surcharges, but he chickened out and it didn’t go anywhere.

I guess the only thing is to avoid anywhere that tries this one on, or stick with cash.

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Listowel Writers Week Card Payment Surcharge Ripoff

I received this e-mail from a ValueIreland.com reader last week.

I received the Listowel Writers week brochure today.  It says they charge you €6 for paying for a workshop by credit card or laser card.  With laser the company gets the money at the time – they pay a small fee (it was 15c per transaction) to the card company.  Can they charge €6?  How do you justify this.

Here was my response:

Unfortunately this charge, assuming the amount quoted is accurate, doesn’t have to be justified.

They’re free to charge what they want at the moment – the financial industry have been successful in resisting the banning of card surcharges, despite it being part of EU legislation.

Unfortunately, it’s a standard response to many queries that we get, but it’s your own choice as to whether to pay the charge or not. In situations such as this, there’s not a whole lot that the consumer can do about it except not pay it.

And as I can probably guess, there’ll be more people who will pay the charge than those that might refuse to pay – and therefore, they’ll get away with charging it.

For events such as this, with a big demand for tickets and places, people such as the organisers of the Listowel Writers Week are dealing with a captive audience.

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The Hidden Side of Expensive Ireland

There’s a good article in todays Pricewatch from Conor Pope in the Irish Times – his blog version is here. Though, I’d disagree with his description of the charges he describes as “rip-offs” – all the charges Conor refers to are relatively clear and openly described prior to purchase.

We might not like the dual charges, the handling fees and surcharges, they are told to us prior to purchase, and technically we can decide whether or not to engage with the business provider or not.

Though, given the fact that most of the businesses who engage in such practices are copied by their competitive counterparts (Aer Lingus vs Ryanair) or there are no competitors (Ticketmaster), we don’t always have this choice as to whether or not we have to pay such fees and charges.

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Should credit card surcharges be banned?

This article in the Irish Times today (sub required) pits Dermott Jewell of the Consumer Association of Ireland (in favour) against Brendan Burgess of www.askaboutmoney.com (against).

Personally, I’m in favour of the removal of credit card surcharges, but that’s just me. I was interested however in reading the reasoning behind Mr.Burgess’ argument in favour of keeping credit card surcharges.

He argues that as an empowered consumer, he will shop around. And if spending more than €100 he will ask for a discount. Which is all fine and well, but how can you ask for a discount or shop around when you’re buying a flight or concert tickets online.

I was particularly intrigued as to how he brought in twice the example of credit card surcharges when it came to buying art. Which is probably relevant to some of the readers of the Irish Times, but is hardly relevant to the majority of Irish consumers.

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