Minister Roberts welcomes the RBA's decision on surcharging
13 June 2012
Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts today applauded the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) decision to clamp down on merchants who slug consumers with excessive surcharges.
Mr Roberts said the RBA’s decision to vary the current merchant surcharging standards and force merchants to limit surcharges to a reasonable cost is a win for everyday Australians already struggling under the increasing cost of living.
“Persistent concerns have been raised by consumers and regulators about the increase in excessive and unexplained credit card surcharges,” he said.
“Surcharges have become common place in our everyday transactions and the public has a right to understand why these additional fees are necessary.”
The decision confirms the findings of research commissioned by NSW Fair Trading into how credit card surcharges affect consumers.
The report on market practices surveyed more than 1,400 people and found widespread opposition to surcharges and a belief that retailers were using excessive surcharges to profiteer, not just cover processing costs.
“From the 1st July 2012, the NSW Government will impose a surcharge on credit card transactions to recoup merchant interchange fees, however, these rates will be based on cost-recovery only.”
“Surcharges being applied across retailers are often vague and inconsistent.
“Retailers need to be transparent and upfront on additional surcharges and give the consumer a fair go,” the Minister said.
Mr Roberts said despite the fact that surcharging affects millions of consumers’ everyday; the rationale behind it remains over complicated and poorly understood.
“Often the additional fee is not apparent until after a consumer pays, making it too late to query or choose an alternative method of payment,” he said.
“The NSW Government wants to see consumers receive a fair go in the marketplace and not be exposed to unfair and unscrupulous price gouging,” the Minister said.
For more information about Fair Trading go to the Fair Trading website.
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