Looking to go on holiday? For those who are, it might be best to avoid using a credit or debit card when you book online with a travel firm. According to Which?, holiday travellers are still being ripped off by online booking agents when it comes to card fees. This is a shame too, given the fact that credit and debit cards are still the easiest way to pay for anything online.
This information was brought to light by a new survey done by Which? This survey revealed that many consumers are still being hit by surcharges as high as 18 percent from holiday booking firms. This was a let-down for Which?, who had recently finished a high-profile campaign that was supposed to bring this issue to light. The goal was to help curb these fees and give consumers a break. Now, Which? sees that their efforts might have been in vain.
The problem is that it is currently illegal for any company to charge more for the cost of processing a credit card or debit card payment than what they have to pay. However, most holiday firms do not care, and they do it anyway. Most of them sight other expenses as the reason why they have to charge so much, which makes it hard to pinpoint the ones that are really in violation of breaking the law.
The campaign to get the UK government to abolish these excessive card charges was kicked off earlier this year. By April, the campaign was considered a success as a ban on these chargers came into effect. It became illegal for all companies to charge more than what it really costs them to process a payment. According to Which?, it should cost no more than 2 percent of the purchase and just a few pence to run these cards.
Regardless, a recent study of more than 700 UK companies found that several booking agents are still breaking the law. It is not just the travel sector that is doing it, but this sector does seem to be the worst offender as they look to make extra money. One of the highest surcharges right now is charged by eDreams. This company has a surcharge of more than 18 percent when it runs a credit card. This surcharge is even implemented when people run a debit card. In short, this company is making a killing on card fees alone.
Richard Lloyd, the executive director of Which?, says that this is very disappointing news. After just six months, the government ban on these high surcharges has already been thrown out. Companies do not fear this ban because they know there is nothing the government can do about it. Some companies have reduced their surcharges, but it is really hard for the government to crack down on this ban. These companies are likely to start raising their surcharges again. Only time will tell if they finally decide to do the right thing, but it is not looking like it. After all, these companies only seem to care about money.