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Consumers: Fees and Charges

Volume 490: debated on Monday 23 March 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent assessment he has made as part of his consumer protection responsibilities of the merits of applying supplies of goods and services variable administration fees for consumers according to method of payment. (264976)

The Government have not made any such assessment. The decision on whether to accept certain payment methods, and whether or not to charge a fee for accepting certain payment methods, is a commercial one for banks and retailers. However, in doing so, they must take account of legal obligations which are relevant to the giving of information about prices. The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 prohibit traders from engaging in unfair commercial practices which harm consumers’ economic interests. In broad terms, commercial practices are acts or omissions by a trader directly connected to the supply of products to consumers. The giving of information about prices is one form of commercial practice.