Government issues new crackdown on excessive ticket booking fees

New regulation means it's against the law to charge over the odds to pay on credit and debit cards

A new set of guidelines has been issued by the government alongside new regulations to combat excessive booking fees for goods including gig tickets.

Until now, many fans have been asked to pay big surcharges for using cards, especially when booking online. Typically, people trying to book concert tickets discover at the end of the payment process that the price of the ticked is bumped up is they use a debit or credit card.

As Music Week reports, on April 6 a new set of consumer protections were brought into force which make it “unlawful for businesses to charge consumers fees for using a particular payment method that are higher than the costs to the trader of accepting that payment method”.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, has also outlined what it deems as reasonable trader costs that can be claimed under the new rules. The payment surcharges will now have to reflect the actual cost to the retailer of processing the card transaction – which includes fees they have to pay to providers such as Visa or Mastercard, or the cost of installing a chip-and-pin reader. In most cases, the cost should be minimal. For a transaction of £100 the surcharge should be £2.10 and for a transaction of £50, it should be £1.16.

“The practice of excessive payment surcharges has been ripping off consumers for far too long,” said Jo Swinson, the consumer affairs minister told the BBC. “They are fed up of thinking they will be paying a certain price for goods, only to find out towards the end of the process that the final price is much higher.”