Lloyds Auctioneers and Valuers has paid almost $40,000 in penalties after the ACCC accused the business of breaking the rules on excessive card surcharges.
According to the competition regulator, Lloyds charged its customers a standard 2.25 per cent fee for customers making credit or debit card payments online between September 2017 and March this year.
That figure, the watchdog claimed, amounted to a mark-up of as much as 1.43 percentage points – or more than double the actual cost of processing the transactions.
“We were particularly concerned because, due to the high value of the auction items sold, some customers paid hundreds of dollars more in surcharges than the cost to Lloyds of processing those payments,” ACCC deputy chair Mick Keogh said.
“The infringement notices we issued specifically related to payments where customers were over-charged between about $30 and $350 more than it cost Lloyds to process the payments.
Mr Keogh noted that the law banning businesses from profiteering on card payment surcharges has been in force “for more than a year now” – and two years for large companies – meaning that ignorance is no defence.
“Businesses have had more than enough time to get it right,” he said.
Lloyds paid infringement notices totalling $37,800. According to the ACCC, the issuing and payment of infringement notices is not an admission of guilt. The company has been contacted for comment.
Lloyds is just the latest in a string of businesses to be pinged for surcharges deemed to be excessive: Fitness First coughed up thousands in penalties last month over the same issue, as did Cruisin Motorhomes. Meanwhile, car rental company Europcar was taken to court over the issue in July this year.
Online retailer RedBalloon was the first company to targeted by the regulator over card surcharges.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.