Since the beginning of the year, merchants have been prohibited from charging surcharges for payments by credit card, Sepa direct debit or bank transfer. Some do it anyway, the customers don’t want that to be offered.

An extra fee for payment by debit card is no longer permitted.

More than 200 consumers have complained to the competition center about inadmissible surcharges for cashless payments since the beginning of the year. The complaints were received by the newly established payment fee complaints office in the first six months. Almost all industries are affected, such as tourism, services of general interest, telecommunications, gastronomy, stationary trade and online trade, said lawyer Peter Breun-Goerke from the headquarters for combating unfair competition in Bad Homburg on Friday.

Since January 13, 2018, no additional fee may be charged for payments by credit card, Sepa direct debit or bank transfer. Merchants are prohibited from demanding such surcharges from consumers for the most common payment options online and at the till.

So far, the competition center has sent 15 formal injunctions. In the majority of the cases there was an out-of-court settlement. The companies concerned had undertaken to waive fees. This involved surcharges for payments with credit cards and when using the EC card at the checkout if the purchase price did not reach a minimum amount.

In some cases, the competition headquarters went to court to clarify fundamental legal issues.