Which? pushes complaint against rip-off charges

Which? is attacking card surcharges made by low-cost airlines and others. The consumer body is launching a super-complaint next month to ask the Office of Fair Trading to investigate the charges, which can be as much as £5 per person per journey.

"Paying by card should cost the consumer the same amount that it costs the retailer," said the Which? chief executive, Peter Vicary-Smith. "Companies shouldn't be using card processing costs as an excuse for boosting their profits." A family of four booking a return flight with Ryanair would be charged £40 to pay by debit card when the cost to the airline would be about 20p. The same family would be charged £38 by Flybe and £5.50 by Easyjet, Which? says.

The airline hit back at the accusations. "Ryanair does not levy any credit or debit card payment surcharges," it said. "Even our administration fee is avoidable by passengers who use our recommended MasterCard Prepaid."

Which? also found that local authorities, estate agents, cinemas and even the DVLA levy excessive charges for paying by card.