Europcar fined $350k over card surcharges


By Loren Webb

Europcar will pay a $350,000 penalty for imposing an excessive credit card surcharge on 63,012 customers.

The Australian branch of global car rental company Europcar has agreed to pay a $350,000 fine for imposing excessive surcharges on customers who paid via credit and debit cards.

The amount of each surcharge was quite small – averaging just $1.07 a customer – and totalling $67,215.59.
But it breached the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, in that the 1.43 per cent surcharge was higher than Europcar’s 0.17 to 0.62 per cent cost of accepting the payments.

“As a large and sophisticated business, Europcar was well aware of its obligations to comply with the law prohibiting excessive surcharges,” Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Mick Keogh said.

Europcar has also refunded the surcharges to the 63,012 customers who were hit by the surcharges between July and November 2017.

It said the excess charges were unintentional, that it had co-operated with the investigation and accepted the penalty.

Europcar said it had received the relevant data from its financial service provider but “a system limitation delayed implementation of the new rules”, which went into effect in September 2016 for large businesses and a year later for smaller ones.

The ACCC has gone after four other companies over excessive credit card surcharges – RedBalloon, Cruisin Motorhomes, Fitness First and Lloyds Auctioneers.

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