We have all been there: you think you have just found an amazing deal and then you are hit with a surcharge for using your card, especially credit cards. Is this legal? The answer is that it is PROVIDED the surcharge does not exceed the cost to the trader of using the relevant payment method.For example, if the cost to the trader of using a credit card facility is 25p per transaction, the trader can only charge the customer 25p and not the added cost of electricity to run the machine, paper, cost of staff operating the machine… This is thanks to the Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharges) Regulations 2012 which were made on 18 December 2012 and come into force on 6 April 2013 .
So, traders will not be able to enforce a surcharge imposed in breach of the prohibition and must refund any surcharges which have been paid. Trading Standards are empowered to investigate complaints of non-compliance. The Regulations apply to all consumer contracts for goods, services, digital content and most utilities, although there are various exclusions from scope (including certain financial services contracts).