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Christmas comes early for card-carrying consumers

23 December 2011

Businesses which make consumers “pay for paying” using their card on the internet have been heavily criticised by consumer groups. Consumers find it unfair to be charged (a) more than the cost to the business of processing the transaction (b) per item purchased and (c) without being notified of the charge up front. Today it has been announced that the Government intends to ban this practice.

This is perhaps a non-story because last week, the EU Consumer Rights Directive came into force. This requires the UK to make a number of changes to consumer law (some positive, some negative) by December 2013 (including such a ban), so that consumer protection is fully harmonised across the EU. But the Government does propose to put a ban in place earlier, in 2012.

To get a PR advantage over slower competitors, businesses might want to make the changes to their terms and conditions and websites before they become mandatory. Consider it an early Christmas present to your customers!

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