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Change law to stop airline card charge rip-off

August 13, 2011 12:50 PM

The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has warned holiday makers to beware of unfair and misleading credit card charges when travelling abroad.

Mr. Black was speaking after it became clear that airlines are defying a ruling just weeks ago by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) that these charges should be banned.

It has been reported that not only are airlines ignoring the ruling and refusing to stop charging these fees, but two airlines - Swiss International and Lufthansa - are actually introducing new card fees. Both of these airlines will start charging £4.50 for any purchases made on a debit or credit card from November 2nd, even though the OFT has warned airlines that such charging practices are 'misleading'.

Mr Black said: "According to the financial website lovemoney.com airlines are making up to £300m per year from charging customers more than their own costs for the use of credit and debit cards.

"Processing a debit card payment costs just 20p, whilst the equivalent cost for a credit card payment is 2% of the sale, yet the charge made in many cases in far in excess of this and amounts to profiteering at the expense of holidaymakers and others.

"To add insult to injury, many airlines hide the fact of these charges until you are well into the booking process. The trouble is that OFT rulings are not legally binding, so the airlines are happy to ignore them and keep right making these excess profits.

"The only chink of light is that the European Commission has just decided to launch their own investigation which may well end in Europe-wide laws to stop these unfair charges unless the airlines mend their ways once and for all.

"The UK government doesn't have to wait for this of course. MPs already have the results of the OFT investigations. They should pass laws to change things now."

ENDS

Note for Editors: Details of charges imposed by airlines can be found here:

http://www.lovemoney.com/news/travel-food-and-lifestyle/travel/12520/airlines-defy-ruling-to-stop-charging-unfair-fees

For information they are as follows:

Trader

Credit card surcharge

Debit card surcharge

British Airways

£4.50 per passenger

£0

BMI Baby

£4.50 per journey

£3 per journey

EasyJet

£8 plus 2.5% of transaction

£8 per transaction

Jet2

7% per transaction (min £4.99)

3.5% per transaction (min £4.99)

Ryanair

£6 per journey

£6 per journey

DFDS Seaways

2.5% per transaction

£0

Irish Ferries

£5 per transaction

£5 per transaction

The Trainline

£3.50 per transaction

£0

Rail Easy

4.5% per transaction

75p per transaction