Plastic charges under spotlight

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CREDIT and debit card charges have once again come under the Manx Office of Fair Trading (OFT) microscope following an investigation into airline and travel fees by the UK OFT.

Following the the UK office’s call for more clarity when it comes to what charges companies would make for payments on plastic, the Isle of Man Office of Fair Trading has indicated that it is supporting the call.

One of the several issues is that charges only become evident at the end of the booking process. UK trading officials are demanding that consumers should be made aware of these charges much earlier in the transaction.

Similarly the UK OFT believes that for those consumers booking by telephone, travel companies should state what payment charges are applicable early in the booking conversation.

In addition, it says that there should be no separate charge for the use of debit cards and is asking the UK Government to consider changing the law to prevent companies making a charge for the use of debit cards.

Accordingly, there are no reasons why traders shouldn’t levy additional charges for the use of credit cards provided they comply with the recommended minimum transparency requirements the UK OFT has set out.

At this stage these are recommendations rather than legally binding requirements.

Bill Henderson MHK, chairman of the OFT in the island, said: ‘These conclusions are very hopeful. Most consumers buying travel are frustrated by the way in which the travel companies slip additional charges in at the end of the booking process.

‘This office will monitor whether the UK airlines operating in the island will notify the UK OFT if they do not.

‘I can confirm that Manx2 and the Steam Packet do not currently impose any payment charge for debit cards.’

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