South Ayrshire Council is keen to spread the news that from 13 January 2018, retailers will no longer be allowed to charge customers any fees for using a card to make a payment.
The Council has received many complaints over the years about these charges so is highlighting the new legislation which ends transaction fees on any credit or debit card, including Visa, Mastercard and American Express.
In 2010 UK consumers spent an estimated £473m on these surcharges. Since April 2012, the UK Government has outlawed retailers from charging fees that are 'excessive'. But many consumers still faced surcharges of up to 3% on some transactions.
Some small shops or pubs have a £5 or £10 minimum spend before they will accept a card. This will not be illegal under the new legislation, so customers can expect it to continue.
The UK Government has introduced the ban on fees in line with a new EU law for Visa and MasterCard surcharges. However the UK has gone further to also ban charges on American Express and PayPal.
Councillor Ian Cochrane, the Council's Sustainability and Environment Portfolio Holder, said "I welcome this announcement as I know our Trading Standards Service has talked to many consumers who were aggrieved at these charges. These fees can add up to a significant sum, particularly on more expensive purchases like holidays and furniture, so this is good news."
The new law does not affect the protection that consumers have under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. This means a credit card provider has the same responsibility as a trader for breaches of contract or misrepresentations if consumers spend £100 or more on a transaction. This allows consumers to claim their money back from their credit card company if necessary.
Anyone with any concerns over credit card charges or any trader that would like advice on compliance with these new regulations should contact the Council on 0300123 0900 and ask to speak to Trading Standards.