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Airlines to make card charges more transparent

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by Jan Harris
Airlines to make card charges more transparent

Airlines will make debit and credit card charges clearer for customers, following an investigation by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

The investigation was launched in March following a supercomplaint from the independent consumer body Which?

Twelve airlines have agreed to include debit card surcharges in the headline price rather than add them on at the end of the booking process, making it easier for them to calculate and compare prices.

The OFT said in a statement: “Debit cards are the online equivalent of cash which means that headline prices should be the price people can pay.”

Aer Lingus, BMI Baby, Eastern Airways, easyJet, Flybe, German Wings, Jet2, Lufthansa, Ryanair, Thomas Cook, Thomson (TUI) and Wizz Air have all agreed to the change.

Airlines will continue to impose surcharges for credit cards, as they cost more to process than debit card, but the surcharge will be made clearer for customers when they are booking fights.

According to the OFT, airlines charge customers £300 million a year in debit and credit card surcharges.

Meanwhile, the Government is bringing forward legislation to ban excessive debit and credit card surcharges across all sectors.

The news was welcomed by Which? chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith, who said: ‘Over 50,000 people supported our campaign to end rip-off surcharges so it’s good news that debit card surcharges will be displayed in the headline price of flights – as long as the airlines don’t use this as an excuse to push up their prices.

‘It’s also important that credit card charges are clearly displayed throughout the booking process and the OFT should make sure that all companies are taking these steps, not just airlines.

‘We’re pleased that the Government has said they are sticking to their original timetable to ban excessive card surcharges by the end of the year.’

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News posted: July 5, 2012

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