Cash or card - don’t be fooled

2017-02-09 06:01

HAVE you ever been told by a cashier that extra will be added to your bill because you are paying by debit card instead of cash?

At the time you agree to it because you don’t have cash, but is this actually legal?

No, it isn’t, according to Trevor Hattingh, spokesperson for the National Consumer Council (NCC) who stated this was “a clear contravention of the Consumer Protection Act”.

According to a consumer who brought three incidents to the Fever’s attention, it’s mainly local grocery stores, pubs, taverns and the like that do this.

“A tavern in Marburg charges 10% more if you choose to pay via debit card,” said the consumer.

“The same with a local bar, but consumers are charged an extra R20 if they use plastic to pay.”

Not only is this illegal, it’s a contravention of the agreement this particular business has with the bank that provided the speed point service.

“Consumers have a right to a fair and honest dealing, as prescribed by the Consumer Protection Act,” said Hattingh.

“Business owners cannot add a fee at their discretion for debit or credit card payments,” he added.

Such incidents should be reported to the National Consumer Commission.

“Lodge a complaint with us so we can investigate the allegation” he said.

The Payments Association of South Africa’s website stipulates that a merchant may not “penalise” a consumer for using a credit card for a purchase transaction.

The site further mentions that this practice is generally known as “surcharging” and is not acceptable. The amount charged should match the displayed or advertised price.

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