Update of the Guidance for Traders on Pricing Practices
What changes have been made to the guidance since the latest version was published in December 2016?
The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) published its "Guidance for Traders on Pricing Practices" in December 2016. This was at the request of the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Consumer Protection Partnership, and followed a series of consumer complaints focused on misleading practices, and a super-complaint from the Consumers Association, Which?.
Recent changes to the guidance have been made following the introduction of the EU Payment Services Directive into UK law. This directive has banned businesses from charging fees for using credit cards when making payments.
The original guidance only stated that a business could not charge the consumer a fee in excess of the fee the business had to pay. Now the guidance has been updated on page 6 to say "DON’T charge consumers a fee for using a credit card or debit card".
Why is this important?
There was no announcement by CTSI that the guidance had been updated and unless you were watching the Payment Services Directive, this change might have passed you by.
Any practical tips?
Do not charge consumers a fee for using a credit or debit card. But remember that not all fees have been banned. So booking fees applied to all transactions regardless of payment method still stand. The trick on the latter is to be aware that a fee which is always payable in all cases will almost undoubtedly impact on the headline price. As the guidance itself states, an additional charge must be included in the up-front price if that charge is compulsory and a failure to do so would breach the Consumer Protection Regulations (see page 24 of the guidance).