With effect from 13th January 2018, traders on the Island will not be able to apply additional surcharges for payments made by card. That’s the reminder from the Office of Fair Trading.
This means that it will be unlawful for businesses to, for example, add an additional percentage charge when customers pay for goods or services with a credit card.
The rules do not require a trader to accept any particular payment method, but whatever payment methods the trader accepts; the price must be the same. Some traders, for example, do not accept cards for payments below £10, and this can still continue.
In December 2017 Tynwald approved the OFT’s proposal to follow the United Kingdom’s lead and introduce a prohibition on surcharges for consumer payments made by credit and debit card. This prohibition applies to any business trading with customers in the Island or anywhere in the European Economic Area (EEA)
This follows similar controls being brought-in on the same date across the whole of the European Union.
OFT Chairman Martyn Perkins MHK explained “Whilst the UK regulations are not directly applicable to the Island, they will indirectly impact on local businesses trading into the UK or EEA and on local consumers buying goods online. This would leave a very confusing situation and risks our consumers being placed at a disadvantage compared to their UK counterparts. The OFT has made an Order applying similar regulations to the Island”.
Martyn Perkins concluded “A key role of the OFT is to protect consumers and it is important to close the loophole which would disadvantage local consumers.”