13 JAN 2020

Our Guide to Surcharges—What You Can Do If You’ve Been Overcharged

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Sometimes, when you make purchases, you might find a surcharge. While this is normal and legal, the surcharge (also known as checkout fee) must be proportionate to the amount spent by the buyer. With that said, some people experience a surcharge that seems to be excessive. If you’re reading this article, you’ve probably just experienced it as well and is wondering what you can do about it.

To answer that, let’s talk more about surcharges, what they are, why they exist, and what you can do about it.


Explaining Surcharges

Merchants impose surcharges on buyers to cover the cost of processing your payment method. In other words, they act a little like fees. However, they are different in a way because how much a surcharge is will depend on the payment method of choice—cheque, cash, credit card, and the likes. Other types of fees, such as admin fees, will be fixed, meaning that you’re going to pay the same amount regardless of how you pay.

With that said, it is estimated that processing these different kinds of payments should cost no more than two per cent of the total amount spent. For example, if you spend a hundred pounds on a product, you should expect to pay no more than two pounds as a surcharge. Any more than that, then you might be experiencing an excessive surcharge.


The Existence of Surcharges 

Under the Consumer Protection Regulations of 2012, traders have been banned from charging customers more than the amount it takes to process a specific type of payment. More so, from January 2018, traders and retailers are also banned from charging you if you decide to pay with debit or credit cards.

While these regulations might be at play, it doesn’t apply to everyone, such as public bodies. For example, if you’re going out to renew your public license or passport, the surcharges applied to you won’t be regulated, meaning that they can charge a much higher amount.


Reporting Surcharges

With that in mind, you might be wondering what you can do if you have just experienced an excessive surcharge. If you weren’t dealing with any public bodies and have noticed that you’ve been excessively surcharged, you’re given the right to claim from whoever imposed those charges. You can direct your problems to a claims company, and they’ll help you do so.

At the same time, these companies will also help ensure that violators are punished and reminded to stick with the regulations. In a sense, if you report who committed the act, you’re giving them a chance to change for the better, meaning that everyone else after you won’t have to deal with the same situation again.

While some rules and regulations control surcharges, it is still unfortunate that some companies practice overcharging them. However, you now know how to spot an excessive surcharge and see that you’re well in your right to report them. With the help of a claims company, not only will you be able to find success with your claims, but you’ll ensure that the violators won’t go around causing any more trouble.

If you’re looking to claim compensation on mis-sold goods or services in the UK, get in touch with Consumer Reclaim today! We’re happy to help.

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Consumer Reclaim Ltd is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in respect of regulated claims management activities, reference number: 835212. Registration is recorded at: https://register.fca.org.uk. Consumer Reclaim Ltd is registered in England and Wales, Company Registration number: 07223077. Information Commissioner Office number: ZA176000. VAT number: 144 4752 12