The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has issued a consultation on how to implement the ban on excessive payment surcharges that is set out in the Consumer Rights Directive (the Directive). The ban must be implemented by European Union member states by 13 June 2014.
The Consumer Rights Directive is intended to consolidate the rights of consumers across the European Union. In relation to all business-to-consumer transactions, Article 19 of the Directive sets out that traders can recover the costs of processing payments from consumers but cannot overcharge beyond the actual cost incurred. Article 19 must be implemented by the Government in its current form and cannot be any more or less stringent.
Under guidance that the Government has previously issued, European Union law will not be implemented in the UK before the date for implementation set out by the European Union unless there are compelling reasons for doing so. The Government considers that there are compelling economics and consumer protection reasons for early implementation, preferably by the end of 2012, and has suggested that it be made law by effectively copying the text of the Directive.
The consultation by BIS asks for input on a number of areas, including:
1) Whether it is correct to implement Article 19 ahead of schedule?
2) What costs the trader can recover from a consumer and how those costs can be calculated?
3) How the ban will be enforced?
The consultation closes on 15 October 2012.