Monday, 2 April 2012

B is for Big Business, Big Bucks

Recently, I posted about the imposition on consumers of ridiculous surcharges and administration fees (see here), my all-time pet-hate being the administration fee I pay to print my own concert tickets. 
After that post, I noticed a growing trend for companies to charge a credit card surcharge. Now, I do realise banks charge businesses a fee to accept payments by credit card, but I don’t believe this fee should be passed on to the consumer. 

Why not? Because the business that chooses to accept credit card payments gets custom from consumers they otherwise might not get if the consumer didn’t have access to credit. Both consumer and business get benefits to using credit cards and both pay for it (the consumer via annual fees and monthly interest charges). That’s fair. It’s not fair if all the costs of that transaction get shifted to one party, even though both parties benefit from the arrangement – especially if the party bearing all the costs is the smaller party i.e. powerless consumer. 

I know small businesses sometimes charge a credit card to off-set the cost of using credit cards, and I can live with that, because small businesses are usually small margin businesses. But I draw the line at big business charging a surcharge and here are my two favourites:
  • Telstra – This is Australia’s telecommunications giant. It provides home phones, internet, mobile phones and pay TV. It’s the most expensive provider of these services, although arguably a better service than other providers, though that’s not saying much – and I’m not saying it (see here for a snippet of my recent Telstra woes). And when I went to pay my bill the other day, I noticed there is a credit charge surcharge. Excuse me? Telstra can certainly afford the surcharge, so why am I paying it?

  • Virgin Australia - One of Australia’s three major airline players. For 2 return tickets to Brisbane, I paid $16 in credit card surcharges. Not only can a major airline afford to pay the costs of credit cards, but I'm sure this far exceeds the actual cost to Virgin. Pure profiteering!
My chiropractor doesn’t charge a credit card surcharge. It’s a small, three principal practice, but apparently they can afford to cover the cost to them of allowing me to use a credit card, but Telstra cannot…

It must be all the money Telstra wastes on excessive numbers of incompetent staff, who fill their hours making life hard for consumers, that does it!

This is part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge Series. If you missed the previous posts, you can find them here - A.

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Amberr Meadows said...

Good luck on the A-Z challenge. I'm doing a triple challenge: A-Z challenge in a Blogging Basics Series theme as part of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I will survive...

Ciara Ballintyne said...

Alive.. but insane!

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