/ Money

Our super-size surcharges campaign continues

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What a week! We had a giggle at Ryanair calling us ‘clueless clowns’ and watched airlines defend their ‘admin’ charges. But it’s not just airlines getting under your skin, the culprits include dentists and theatres.

Last Friday you joined us in standing up to unfair surcharges. We had high hopes that you’d feel as strongly about this as we do but we were overwhelmed by your support.

You’ve given us great feedback about who the goodies and baddies are – and highlighted other areas we can look into. So we thought you’d be keen to hear what happens next…

What happens to your pledges?

We’ve received over 17,000 pledges of support. We’ll be using your pledges as evidence in our super complaint to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to demonstrate the number of UK consumers affected by this issue. We’re submitting it at the end of March. If you still haven’t pledged your support you can do so here:

It’s not just about airlines

You might have thought the super complaint is just about the airlines as this has been the focus of our pledge.

But it goes further than that. The surcharge super complaint raises issue with any industry charging unfair card fees – anything above 1-2% if paying by credit card and anything above 20p if paying by debit card!

Low cost airlines are often the worst offenders. But you’ve given us plenty more to add to that list. You’ve told us about dentists, cinemas, theatres, and even local councils stinging you with charges when it’s time to pay.

Your concerns about surcharges

Commenter Stephen Hicks raised concerns over how retailers will make up their losses if the OFT find the surcharges are unfair. ‘Ticket prices would rise to compensate, but at least we would not feel ripped off,’ he said.

Richard told us ‘it is easy enough – make all companies quote the actual cost to the customer at point of sale’. We’re definitely behind you on that one.

Dave Darwent told us that we’re just touching the surface of this issue. ‘Which? is missing a fantastic opportunity here to really help smaller traders: the Super Complaint should be about the BANKS charging these fees and forcing the retailers to have to pay for telephone and electricity services too.’

The digital community has rallied together to get our pledge promoted in all the right places, too. A big thank you to Martin Lewis for flagging it in your latest email and Travel Supermarket and Money High Street for embedding it on your sites. We’ve even made the embed code available so you can put it wherever you like (sorry Ryanair, you can’t stick it there).

We’re keeping track of all your examples to explain the breadth of the issue to the OFT. Please keep your ideas and personal experiences coming in. You never know, it might become the focus of our next investigation.

Gerry says:
22 July 2011

Having been stung by Ryanair I have pledged never, never, never to use them again. My last trip with them resulted in a long queue to book in although I had done so on line, with no comment on hand luggage until I got to the departure lounge where 2 stewardesses held fort until everyone put their hand luggage into the contraption, (even when some fit they were not happy) and proceeded to insist people paid an extra £30 for hand luggage to go into the hold. At that point everyone barged the stewardesses and one opf them backed down and we all ploughed through. Another time due to a luggage handlers strike at the airport in Spain, there had been no warning of a strike but they did re-book me for 2 days later. However Easyjet took on board that they had a responsibility to its passengers and arranged for alternative accommodation – mine cost me £200 since there was only 1 hotel available. Never, never, never again.
I did hear from one other passenger that Thompsons were extremely unhelpful and very rude to their passengers even when they were stuck with very little extra cash and two young children. What has happened to common politeness in a service industry?

is it just me? says:
7 March 2012

I just consider all the additional charges as part of the ticket price i.e. bags, reserved seat, taxes, admin fees etc…it doesnt really matter how they split the price up it’s the bottom line that matters. Ryanair, even with every additional purchase they have on their website are still less than a third of the price for an equivalent journey on a traditional airline. What’s not to like?

Dear “Is it just me”, I don’t suppose it is just you but many people, including myself, would dearly like to see a headline price and know that is what we will end up paying.

Alan says:
17 March 2015

booked a holiday with Thompsons, paid a deposit with a credit card 2% charge to complete balance sent a cheque, they returned the cheque and asked for the full amount by credit card @ 2% this is NOT the way to go with customers as we have always paid by cheque.

If you mean “Thomsons”, then they don’t accept personal cheques; but they don’t exclude debit cards, if that helps