Correction: Cruisin Motorhomes pays penalty for excessive payment surcharges

17 July 2018

Cruisin Motorhomes Pty Ltd (Cruisin Motorhomes) has paid a penalty of $12,600 after the ACCC issued an infringement notice for an alleged breach of the excessive payment surcharge laws in the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.

Cruisin Motorhomes operates a campervan and motorhome rental business, with branches in Hobart, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Cairns.

The ACCC alleged that, in January 2018, Cruisin Motorhomes charged Visa and MasterCard customers a 2 per cent surcharge, despite the cost of processing the payment ranging from 0.41 to 1.48 per cent.

The excess payment surcharge laws provide that businesses can only pass on to customers what it costs them to process a payment. For example, if the cost of acceptance for MasterCard debit is 0.41 per cent, a business can only add a surcharge of 0.41 per cent for customers who pay by MasterCard debit card.

“The ACCC alleged that Cruisin Motorhomes imposed credit and debit card surcharges that were higher than its cost of processing the payments. This practice is prohibited by the Competition and Consumer Act 2010,” ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh said.

“If businesses choose to impose a surcharge, they can only charge customers what it costs them to process a payment.”

“Businesses need to ensure the credit and debit card surcharges they impose comply with the law or they risk facing ACCC action,” Mr Keogh said.

The ban on excessive surcharging for card payments came into effect for all businesses on 1 September 2017. If a business is unsure what the cost of acceptance is for a particular payment method, they should contact their financial institution for guidance before charging consumers.

Cruisin Motorhomes cooperated with the ACCC’s investigation after being made aware of the ACCC’s concerns, including taking steps to review and reduce its surcharges.

Further information on excessive surcharging is available here.

Background

The payment of a penalty specified in an infringement notice is not an admission of a contravention of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (CCA).  The ACCC can issue an Infringement Notice where is has reasonable grounds to believe a person has contravened certain provisions of the CCA or the Australian Consumer Law.

Correction: An earlier media release described Cruisin Motorhomes' cost of acceptance in January 2018 for Visa and MasterCard payments to be 0.41 per cent. In fact, the cost of acceptance ranged from 0.41 to 1.48 per cent.

Release number: 
130/18
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