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Surcharge threat to travel firms

30 June 2011 09:23

Surcharges from the airline sector cost UK customers 300 million pounds in 2009

Surcharges from the airline sector cost UK customers 300 million pounds in 2009

Travel companies that charge customers extra for paying with a credit or debit card may be forced to include their surcharges in the headline prices they advertise, the consumer watchdog has said.

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) said that while the companies shouldn't be prevented from charging customers who use this payment method, it may impose rules that would stop them from revealing the surcharge to consumers until late on in the transaction.

It said that this would open up competition between the companies by giving consumers a better idea of how much they will be charged. This means customers will be in a better position to shop around and find the cheapest deals to ensure they have more money for holiday essentials like travel insurance.

Charges are added to debit card transactions because they cost more for companies to process. The OFT said that airlines easyJet and Ryanair charge customers £8 and £6 respectively for debit or credit card transactions, while theTrainline charges £3.50 for a credit card transaction.

UK customers spent £300 million on surcharges in 2009 in the airline sector alone, the watchdog revealed.