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I recently paid a company to carry out some work on our house.

I made a payment over the phone and spoke to a nice lady who took my debit card details. However when I checked my bank account I realised she had added an additional £40 charge for paying by debit card. She did not mention this on the phone, but when I checked the "small-print" it mentioned a "percentage" charge there.

(I know- I should have read the small-print. Rookie error!)

But a £40 charge seems very excessive, and I can see that UK law has now banned excessive debit card charges. What can I do to try to force them to take the charge back?

  • what percentage of the total bill is the £40? – mhoran_psprep May 28 '14 at 10:42
  • It's 2%. Does that make a difference? Surely it won't cost them more to process larger amounts? – Urbycoz May 28 '14 at 11:23
  • Call them and ask them to refund it as you used a debit card and not a credit card and it is more than 50p. – DumbCoder May 28 '14 at 11:40
  • I called them, but they are refusing to refund it. It would have been £80 if it had been a credit card. – Urbycoz May 28 '14 at 12:58
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    From your link, "micro-businesses have been given until June 2014 to comply" - how big is the company? – GS - Apologise to Monica May 28 '14 at 13:16
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Assuming that the company has more than 10 employees and is subject to the ban on excessive charges, it would be your local Trading Standards office's job to enforce the rules.

Given that you've already been charged the fee and did not authorise the full amount that was taken from your card, I'd consider contacting your bank to make a chargeback for the £40 charge. The regulations provide that:

Where a trader charges a fee in contravention of regulation 4—

(a) any provision of a contract requiring the consumer to pay the fee is unenforceable to the extent of the excess charged, and

(b) the contract for the purposes of which the payment is made is to be treated as providing for the excess to be repaid to the consumer.

So if the company is subject to the rules, it doesn't matter what the small print says. It's unenforceable and you don't owe them the money. Assuming that your bank are willing to submit the claim, the company would then have to prove to their bank that the charge was legitimate, and their bank will know exactly what their real card processing costs are.

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